Paw paw (Asimina triloba) is one of the more distinctive members of our flora. The only temperate species of a family of tropical trees, the paw paw produces a large fruit that is edible and delicious, and grows in distinctive clonal clusters in which what looks like up to twenty small trees may actually be only one individual! Unfortunately, the paw paw is very difficult to find in fruit, but keep your eyes peeled as you hike through Shakerag and other rich coves, and you may stumble across a treat that author and pioneer Timothy Flint described in 1824 as resembling “egg-custard in consistence and appearance. It has the same creamy feeling in the mouth and unites the taste of eggs, cream, sugar and spice. It is a natural custard, too lucious for the relish of most people.” While you may have trouble finding one of these fruits in our forests, you can enjoy this video about the paw paw from NPR.


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  1. Pingback: Sewanee’s Basal Angiospems | Sewanee Herbarium

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