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The Pawpaw
(Asimina triloba)

The pawpaw (Asimina triloba (L.) Dunal) is the largest fruit native to the United States and has been prized for its delicious, custard-like fruit since before the first European settlers arrived. The genus Asimina is the only temperate climate representative of the tropical family Annonaceae, which is famous for delicious fruit such as custard apple (Annona reticulata), cherimoya (A. cherimola), sweet-sop (A. squamosa), sour-sop (A. muricata), and atemoya (A. squamosa x A. cherimola). As public interest in exotic tropical fruits continues to increase, under-exploited native fruit should not be overlooked. For example, the blueberry (Vaccinium sp.) has been brought into cultivation and developed into a sizable industry during this century. The purpose in writing this paper is to bring together current knowledge of pawpaw and suggest methods for furthering its domestication and improvement. It must be recognized that much of the information available is based on observations by pawpaw enthusiasts rather than scientific studies. Much work needs to be done using scientific methods.