The Common Paw Paw Tree, Asimina Triloba, has a number of local names such as prairie banana, Ozark banana, or the poor man's banana. The pawpaw is native to shady, rich bottom lands, where it often forms a dense undergrowth in the forest.
The large leaves are alternate, simple, oval shaped, ten to twelve inches long, four to five broad, wedge-shaped at base. Where it dominates a tract it appears as a thicket of small slender trees, whose great leaves are borne so close together at the ends of the branches, and which cover each other so symmetrically that they appear to be part of the same tree.
The fruit is a large edible berry,up to 6 inches long and 3 inches broad, weighing up to 1 pound, with numerous seeds; it is green when unripe, maturing to yellow or brown. It has a flavor somewhat similar to both banana and mango, varying significantly by cultivar, and has more protein than most fruits. The fruits are quite popular, but the shelf life of the ripe fruit is almost non-existent, for it soon ripens to the point of fermentation. Those who wish to preserve the fruit for the future do so by dehydration, making it into jams or jellies, or pressure canning by using the numerical values for bananas. In southern West Virginia pawpaws are made into a native version of banana nut cake or fruit cake, and baked inside canning jars, the lids heat-sealed to keep the food for at least a year.
The Thursday Theme for this week was something related to the number 3. Since these common Paw paw trees are planted in a group of three, and since this Asimina Triloba has leaves which typically are clustered 3 to a bud, I think we should qualify. Please enjoy and comment.
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