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Ohio State Native Fruit – Schick Apiary Farm: Pawpaw Harvest

September 9, 2009

This Post was created to promote the Saturday Morning Farmers’ Market. You can read more about that market here: http://www.sanduskymainstreet.com/FarmersMarket.aspx

John Schick at the Sandusky Farmers Market.

John Schick at the Sandusky Farmers Market.

Schick Apiary Farm is expecting to bring Pawpaw fruit to the Sandusky Farmers Market this coming weekend.

For anyone interested…

Pawpaws are shrubs or small trees, reaching heights of 2 to 12 m tall. The northern, cold-tolerant common pawpaw (Asimina triloba) is deciduous, while the southern species are often evergreen.

The leaves are alternate, simple ovate, entire, 20 to 35 cm long and 10 to 15 cm broad.

The fetid flowers are produced singly or in clusters of up to eight together; they are large, 4 to 6 cm across, perfect, with six sepals and petals (three large outer petals, three smaller inner petals). The petal color varies from white to purple or red-brown.

The fruit is a large edible berry, 5 to 16 cm long and 3 to 7 cm broad, weighing from 20 to 500 g, 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.

  • Bark: Dark brown, blotched with gray spots, sometimes covered with small excrescences, divided by shallow fissures. Inner bark tough, fibrous. Branchlets light brown, tinged with red, marked by shallow grooves.
  • Wood: Pale, greenish yellow, sapwood lighter; light, soft, coarse-grained and spongy. Sp. gr., 0.3969; weight of cu. ft. 24.74 lbs.
  • Winter buds: Small, brown, acuminate, hairy.
  • Leaves: Alternate, simple, feather-veined, obovate-lanceolate, ten to twelve inches long, four to five broad, wedge-shaped at base, entire, acute at apex; midrib and primary veins prominent. They come out of the bud conduplicate, green, covered with rusty tomentum beneath, hairy above; when full grown are smooth, dark green above, paler beneath. When crushed they have a scent similar to a green bell pepper. In autumn they are a rusty yellow, which make spotting pawpaw groves possible from a long distance. Petioles short and stout with a prominent adaxial groove. Stipules wanting.
  • Flowers: April, with the leaves. Perfect, solitary, axillary, rich red purple, two inches across, borne on stout, hairy peduncles. Ill smelling. The triloba refers to the shape of the flower, which is not unlike a tricorner hat.
  • Calyx: Sepals three, valvate in bud, ovate, acuminate, pale green, downy.
  • Stamens: Indefinite, densely packed on the globular receptacle. Filaments short; anthers extrorse, two-celled, opening longitudinally.
  • Pistils: Several, on the summit of the receptacle, projecting from the mass of stamens. Ovary one-celled; stigma sessile; ovules many.
  • Fruit: September, October. [1]
  • Corolla: Petals six, in two rows, imbricate in the bud. Inner row acute, erect, nectariferous. Outer row broadly ovate, reflexed at maturity. Petals at first are green, then brown, and finally become dull purple and conspicuously veiny. (From:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pawpaw)
  • *Pawpaw was made the Ohio State Native Fruit in 2009.

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