Pawpaw Trees - A Native Fruit
Are you looking for new plants to add to your garden this year? Pawpaw trees are native to Kansas, yet many people in the state have never eaten one. The fruits resemble fat bananas and are generally up to 6 inches long and 3 inches wide. Pawpaws have a creamy, custard-like flesh with a complex combination of tropical fruit flavors. They are most commonly described as tasting like bananas combined with a mango, pineapple, melon, berries, or another fruit. You haven’t seen pawpaws in grocery stores because they are rarely grown commercially, they are hard to ship and store. Ripe fruit will only hold 2 to 3 days at room temperature and up to a week under refrigeration.
In the wild, the pawpaw is an understory tree and may do better with partial shade, especially during the first 2 to 3 years. The trees also benefit with protection from high wind due to their large leaves. The pawpaw is a small tree that may reach 20 feet high but is less broad. Trees require cross-pollination and so at least 2 and preferably 3 different varieties should be grown. Pawpaws are pollinated by insects such as beetles and flies and must be planted close together. Trees should be no further than 30 feet apart in order for good pollination to occur.
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