Asimina triloba

pawpaw, common pawpaw, custard apple, indian banana, wild banana


Leaf Arrangement

alternate, verticillate

Leaf Attachment


Leaf Margin


Leaf Type


Leaf Shape

elliptic, obovate

Growth Form

shrub, tree

Flower Color

brown, purple, red, white, yellow

Flower Petals


Flower Month

April - May

Height (meters)

8.0 - 11.0

Milky Sap








Leaf Retention


Wetland Class


Field Characters

The large leaves of pawpaw trees are clustered symmetrically at the ends of the branches, giving a distinctive imbricated appearance to the tree's foliage. It has large, obovate leaves that smell like green peppers when crushed. Its twigs have brown naked terminal buds

Cultural Information

Easily grown in average, medium to wet, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Prefers moist, acidic, fertile soils. Will grow in shade but becomes leggy. Trees are easily grown from seed. Germination is hypogeal and cotyledons remain within the seed coat. Hypogeal means the cotyledons stay in the soil, acting as a food store for the seedling until the plumule emerges from the soil on the epicotyl or true stem. However, pawpaw seeds have occasionally been observed to emerge from the ground and form the true stem and plumule above ground. Desirable kinds (cultivars) of pawpaw are propagated by chip budding or whip grafting. Seeds will lose viability if they dehydrate to 5% moisture. The seeds need to be stratified, achieved by storage for 9 weeks at 5 degrees C, losing their viability if stored for 3 years or more. Some seeds survive if stored for 2 years. In one study, propagation using cuttings was not successful.

Animal Use

Fruit generally consumed opossums, squirrels, raccoons, and birds. Serves as the larval host for the Zebra Swallowtail and the Pawpaw sphinx.


Ditches, ravines, depressions, flood plains, and bottomlands.

Plant Uses

Fruit can be used to make cakes and sauces but some reportedly develop dermatitis after frequent exposure to the fruits.