How to Find and Prepare PAW PAW Fruit in Missouri during the Fall with Moconservation and my724outdoors.com!
The PAW PAW Tree is a large shrub to small tree with a slender trunk and broad crown; grows in colonies. The edible sweet fruit is delicious and can be used in many recipes. Here is how to find and prepare Missouri’s only NATIVE TROPICAL FRUIT this fall!
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Annonaceae (custard apples)
Pawpaw is a large shrub to small tree with a slender trunk and broad crown; grows in colonies.
Leaves are alternate, simple, 6–12 inches long, 3–5 inches wide, broadest above the middle; margin lacking teeth; upper surface green; lower surface pale; emitting an odor when bruised.
Bark is light ash to dark brown, thin, smooth, later becoming warty with blotches.
Twigs are slender, olive-brown, often blotched, smooth, becoming rougher when older, often with a warty surface. Emits a disagreeable odor when crushed; terminal bud velvet brown, lacking scales; flower bud rounded, overwinters on previous year’s twig.
Flowers March–May; perfect (with male and female parts in same flower), dark reddish purple, solitary, drooping, about 1 inch across, appearing before the leaves and with an odor of fermenting purple grapes.
Fruits September–October. Banana-shaped, cylindrical, 3–5 inches long, green at first and yellow when ripe; pulp sweet, edible, with custardy texture.
The PAW PAW Tree Grows in dense shade on moist lower slopes, ravines, valleys, along streams, and at the base of wooded bluffs. Produces suckers from the roots, forming groves or thickets. The leaves turn yellow in autumn and remain on the tree late into the season. Pawpaw is a member of a tropical family and has no close relatives in Missouri. In nature, it is associated with sweet gum, river birch, sycamore, and roughleaf dogwood.
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