Asimina triloba

Secondary Names:

Leaf Type: Deciduous
Texas Native:
Tree Description:

A small tree seldom over 30 feet high with a trunk 8" or 10" in diameter, with straight, slender branches that give the tree an open, oval crown of large, light green leaves.

Range/Site Description:

Pawpaw is found in rich woods near streams in extreme East Texas and in northeast Texas along the Red River, but does not grow abundantly anywhere, usually found as single trees or in small groves.


Simple, alternate, 8" to 12" long and 3" to 6" wide, obovate or elliptical, thin, bright green above and paler below, odorous when crushed or bruised.


Borne in the leaf axils with the expanding leaves in spring, 1" to 2" across, six-petaled, greenish to a rich brownish­purple or maroon.


A banana-shaped, oblong berry (a "pawpaw"), 3" to 6" long and 1" to 2.5" thick, containing a number of large, brown seeds. When ripe it falls to the ground, turning dark brown, although many animals never let them get this ripe. The deep yellow flesh is palatable, though some people do not care for its unique flavor


Smooth and light brown on young trees and branches; on older trees becoming blotched with gray, and bearing a few small wart-like bumps.


Light, weak, and spongy, yellow in color, and is of no known commercial value. Occasionally used as a landscape specimen.

Similar Species:

Smallflower pawpaw (Asimina parviflora) is a similar shrub with very small flowers in southeast Texas; spicebush (Lindera benzoin) has leaves only 2" to 4" long; pyramid magnolia (Magnolia pyramidata) is a small tree with distinctly ear-lobed leaf bases.

Interesting Facts:

The fruits are used in pies or desserts and taste like custard, giving the species one of its common names, "custard-apple."

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