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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 native deciduous tree found through much of Virginia. A patch of Common Pawpaw can be seen at Monticello Park on the Knoll Trail near Azalea Way. It is possible that the multiple trunks are part of a single tree from a single root system. Common Pawpaws produce the largest edible fruit from a native tree in the United States. The fruits begin to ripen in the late summer and reach their peak in September and October. 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. 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 pawpaw trees contain a chemical which the Zebra Swallowtail eats, thereby making it unpalatable for birds.
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