What it looks like

Pawpaw trees have large, smooth leaves up to 30 cm long and hang down giving the tree a tropical appearance. The trunk and branches are gray-brown and smooth until very old. Showy red flowers appear before the leaves emerge in spring. Yellow-green fruit are produced and fall to the ground in the fall when ripe.

Where it is found

Pawpaw is a species unique to the Carolinian Forest zone in Southwestern Ontario around Lake Erie and the Niagara Region.

Planting Tips

  • Size: Up to 10 m tall
  • Moisture: Prefers moist to wet soils
  • Shade: Prefers part to full shade
  • Soil: Prefers rich, loam soils

Young pawpaw trees have a large, thick taproot and should be transplanted from containers in spring for best establishment.

Pawpaw is the hardiest relative of the tropical custard apple family and is sometimes planted for its unusual edible fruit.

Did you know?

Pawpaw flowers are pollinated by beetles, not bees.

Image credits

  • Tree: Sean Fox
  • Leaf: Sean Fox
  • Bark: Steven J. Baskauf
  • Fruit: Sean Fox