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- EssaysEric Dinerstein Bill Young
Pawpaw, Hoosier Banana, West Virginia Banana, Wild Banana, Quaker Delight, Hillbilly Mango
The Common Pawpaw is a small native deciduous tree found through much of Virginia. It produces the largest edible fruit from a native tree in the United States. However, neither flowers nor fruit have been seen on the pawpaw trees in Monticello Park. The fruits begin to ripen in the late summer and reach their peak in September and October; they can be found in some places along the C&O Canal Towpath in Maryland. The flavor has been compared to banana, with hints of vanilla, citrus, and mango. Common Pawpaw trees can grow to a height of 50 feet. Many of the common trees in our area grow to at least twice that height. Numerous species of pawpaws are in the genus Asimina, and the Zebra Swallowtail butterfly feeds exclusively on trees from this genus. It is possible that the pawpaw trees contain a chemical which the Zebra Swallowtail eats, thereby making it unpalatable for birds.
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