Factsheet F08: Pawpaw – Asimina triloba
The pawpaw, Asimina triloba, is the largest fruit native to the U.S. It should not be confused with the tropical pawpaw or papaya, Carica papaya. A.triloba is distributed over most of the eastern United States and into South-eastern Canada, often found in the understorey beneath beech and maple trees.
The genus Asimina is the only temperate climate representative of the tropical family Annonaceae, which includes the custard apple, soursop and cherimoya.
Asimina triloba (synonyms: Annona pendula, Annona triloba, Asimina glabra, Orchidocarpum areitinum, Porcelia triloba, Uvaria triloba) has numerous common names: pawpaw is sometimes spelt papaw or paw-paw; other names used include Michigan Banana, Indiana Banana, Kentucky Banana (etc – wherever it is found + banana); the Northern Pawpaw, False Banana, Stubby Banana, Poor man’s Banana, Dog Apple and Custard Banana. The references to bananas stem from both the appearance of small bunches of fruit, and from the fruit taste.