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Asimina


More Information About Asimina

The genus Asimina contains 8 species of small trees and shrubs that are native to eastern North America. Most of the species are limited to just one or two southern states, but Asimina triloba can be found in the wild in 27 states from New York to Texas. Its claim to fame is that Asimina produces the largest edible fruit native to North America. Even though the fruits taste good (like a cross between mango, pineapple and banana) not many people are familiar with them because raw pawpaws do not store or ship well. Industry interest in pawpaw is increasing and companies are starting to ship frozen and canned pawpaws. The common name, pawpaw, is a local variation of papaya whose fruit is similar to Asimina.

Asimina is in the Annonaceae family but it must have gotten lost on its way to the last AA (Annonaceae Anonymous) meeting because it is the only genus in the family that does not live in the tropics. Asimina species produce white or purple flowers up to 3" across. In some species the flowers have no scent and in others the scent is fetid in order to attract flies (its pollinator). Asimina leaves are large and give the plants a tropical look.

In the wild, Asimina species are generally found in the understory of open forests growing in deep, fertile, moist soils. In the garden, Asimina should be planted in part shade and in consistently moist, well-drained, slightly acid soils with plenty of compost. Once it has matured, Asimina can tolerate full sun.