Pawpaw Asimina triloba – Native Tree for Residential Landscapes

by Karyl Seppala

This article first appeared in Volume 96 of Wren Song.

Pawpaw Asimina triloba is a lovely little understory tree I would not be without. I first discovered it in my oak woods, happily naturalized and looking like something a bit more tropical than belonged there. Soon I fell in love with its bright green, large, drooping leaves that caught the light and glowed on moonlit nights.

Native to the southeast U.S., Pawpaw Asimina triloba produces fruit but is also an attractive ornamental tree.

I feel that this tree has been overlooked as an ornamental landscape tree which may be used to create a beautiful and wildlife friendly yard. While it is cultivated as a crop fruit it may be planted in a residential setting simply as an attractive tree while being a food source for visiting critters. The fruit can be eaten by opossum, raccoon, squirrels or foxes while the leaves are a host plant for the beautiful Zebra Swallowtail butterfly.

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