so I bought a couple of pawpaws, a fruit tree native to the eastern US that I had no idea about until recently. they are one of those anachronistic plants that still exist despite losing their partners. they relied upon mastodons to spread their seed and attract carrion flies to pollinate their flowers. if/when my trees are old enough to produce fruit, I will need to hand-pollinate them, which will be interesting.

just look at these things! they look tropical!

what really interests me is that they enjoy shade, unlike most fruit trees. I've been struggling to find useful plants to grow in front of my porch which faces north. I'm hoping that a pawpaw tree on either side of the steps will create a striking look.

@dthompson I have seen them only in the wild, and had no idea that people grow them. :-)

@sajith where have you seen them? I can't recall ever seeing one, which is sad because it's native.

@dthompson Allen county, north east Indiana. I went on a hike at a county park with some folks who recognized the tree.

@veer66 at least it was when the mastodons were still around

@noorul I agree. I haven't seen/tasted the fruit in person, but I'm told that it has the softness of tropical fruits like mangos.

Oh. Mangoes are sweet.

How old is your plant/tree?

Take good care of it


@noorul it is a 1-year old seedling that I will be receiving in the mail in the spring.

@dthompson the pawpaw craze is weird to me; we used to go up the holler behind the house and get pawpaws.

I have never been a big fan at least of those wild ones, too sweet.

(BTW, filberts don't mind shade)

@joeyh I've never even tasted them, but it's such an interesting native plant that I'd like to try growing it. it makes a nice ornamental if nothing else.

and yes, hazelnuts will be OK with shade, but they will bush out too big for the space in front of my porch, so I will be planting those somewhere else.

@dthompson good luck, pawpaw trees are fussy little babies but totally worth it!

@Pixley thanks! you're the first person that has mentioned pawpaws being fussy to me, and generally speaking I don't do well with plants that are fussy, so I don't know if they will work out but I will try.

@dthompson they're tricky to get established because they're understory trees and like that kind of environment, which most people don't have in their yards, but if you can get them through their first couple years you're good!

@Pixley I did read that they like the shade, which is why I plan to shelter them from the sun on the north side of my house, a strategy that I am copying from a garden I saw online. I'll keep my expectations managed and cross my fingers.

@dthompson wait they had mastodons and not ground sloths? wild!

pawpaws are so freaking delicious, I love them! some folks in my neighborhood have a pair of trees and the local flies seem to find them okay, or maybe they're just planted close enough for the wind to do it, but they produce a decent amount of fruit even without hand pollinating.

@mcmoots I think ground sloths ate them, too. maybe I should have used the more general "megafauna"

@mcmoots also I have never seen anyone selling or otherwise offering pawpaws so I haven't tasted them. how would you describe the taste?

even if I don't like them, it's okay. they will be fun to grow regardless.

@dthompson it's like a mango crossed with a peach and a banana. Sweet and custardy.

@dthompson the flowers smell pretty bad and the fruits are to a certain degree neurotoxic. plant breeders are working on that last part. They do taste pretty interesting though, mango + banana with a smoky-sour aftertaste.

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