Saturday, May 15, 2010

Pawpaw---The Indiana Banana

I came across a couple of young trees with magnificent blooms like these about two weeks ago. This was my first in person experience with the Pawpaw.

The Pawpaw fruit was once harvested but because of deforestation is rare in the wild. The tree is an understory tree and is cultivated in some areas. Apparently it is felt that to be profitable in cultivation that other uses need to be developed for the trees products besides the delicious, pesticide free fruit.

Thomas Jefferson and George Washington ate chilled Pawpaw fruit which is said to actually taste like bananas.

The tree is the only known larva host of the Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly.
According to the field guide "101 Trees of Indiana" by Marion T. Jackson this tree is also called the Indiana Banana; making it truly an Indiana find.  

sources: "101 Trees of Indiana" Marion T. Jackson; Wikapedia; National Audubon Society Field Guide to Trees

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