Paw Paw Fruit Tree

Botanical Name: Assimina triloba

The Pawpaw or Paw Paw Fruit Tree is an understory, shrub, or tree that originates in Missouri. It is found growing near streams, on woodland slopes, and in lowlands and floodplains. The Pawpaw Tree does well growing with some shade, making it very useful for landscaping use, although it can grow leggy with too much shade. Its form is upright and broadly pyramidal. The Paw Paw Tree, also known by its botanical name, Assimina triloba, is often grown for its delicious fruit.

The flowers are an usual cup-shape and a beautiful shade of deep purple. They appear in spring on the bare branches, and are followed by the edible fruit that develop later in the season. The long, thin, yellow-green fruit ripen to dark brown in the fall, when they are ready to harvest. They are similar in texture and taste to bananas or mangos. They can be used to make ice creams or eaten raw. However, they are not tolerated by all who eat them, causing nausea in some. The paw paw fruit is also enthusiastically enjoyed by wildlife!

The leaves of the Paw Paw Tree are coarse and elliptical in shape, reaching 6-12 inches long. They are mid-green in color, and their growth habit is graceful and slightly weeping. The fall color is yellow, but the leaves hold their green color late into the fall.

No serious disease or insect problems.


Height: 15-30 ft.

Width: 15-30 ft.

Shape: Pyramidal

Flower Color: Purple

Flowering Time: April-May

Fall Color: Yellow, Green

Features: Unusual fruit

Exposure: Full Sun to Part Shade

Watering: Moderate/Heavy & Regular

Soil: Prefers rich, moist, and acidic soil. Tolerates wet soil.

Growth Rate: Moderate

USDA Zones: 5-9

Uses: Fruit tree, understory tree, woodland gardens, rain gardens, habitat/wild gardens

Similar trees: Carya ovata