[NAFEX] Pawpaw pollination, early ripening tree source

Gordon Nofs gc_nofs at hotmail.com
Tue Mar 11 17:41:35 EST 2003

  I have three mother trees with multiple varieties, and they were full of 
blossoms for two years with no fruit till I started hand pollinating. Now 
they are doing better, but they do best with hand pollination. There are 21 
varieties on these three trees planted in close proximity.
     Gordon C Nofs

----Original Message Follows----
From: "Moyer, Richard" <ramoyer at king.edu>
Reply-To: North American Fruit Explorers <nafex at lists.ibiblio.org>
To: "'nafex at lists.ibiblio.org'" <nafex at lists.ibiblio.org>
Subject: [NAFEX] Pawpaw pollination, early ripening tree source
Date: Tue, 11 Mar 2003 16:46:37 -0500

Please note that we've never done a thing to enhance pawpaw pollination on
our trees, and regularly gather fruit both from these trees and from wild
stands here in Tennessee.  In our experience, if  you take care of
cross-pollination, you will get some fruit.
Please find address below for John Gordon's nursery, who offers selected
pawpaws which ripen at their nursery near Buffalo, NY.
As for pollination, see these details from Kirk Pomper's site at Kentucky
Pollination: natural and artificial
Pollination can be a limiting factor in pawpaw fruit set. The flowers are
protogynous, meaning that the stigma (the female receptive organ) ripens
before the pollen, and is no longer receptive when the pollen is shed. Thus
the flower is designed not to be self-pollinated. In addition, pawpaw trees
are self-incompatible, usually requiring pollen from a genetically different
tree in order to be fertilized. Finally, the natural pollinators of the
pawpaw--various species of flies and beetles--are not efficient or
dependable. Although it requires a little extra labor, hand pollination to
ensure fruit set can be well worth the effort and can be done as follows:
Using a small, flexible artist's brush, transfer a quantity of fresh pollen
from the anthers of the flower of one clone to the ripe stigma of the flower
of another clone. Pollen is ripe when the little ball of anthers is brown in
color, loose and friable; pollen grains appear as yellow dust on the brush
hairs. The stigma is ripe when the tips of the pistils are green and glossy,
and the anther ball is still hard and green. Do not overburden the tree with
fruit, as this will stress the tree, resulting in smaller than normal fruit,
and may cause limbs to break under excessive weight.
John wrote:
Are there any folks on the list who've been successful growing Pawpaws in
colder climates (Zone 5)?  There was an interesting discussion about these
fruits on NPR earlier today and I'm interested in at least trying a few
plants up here in coastal Maine.  The thing that concerns me most is that
the flowers reputedly smell awful and need to be pollinated by carrion
flies, which may require nailing a dead possum (or the equivalent) to a
nearby tree to attract them.  How bad IS the smell when they're in bloom?
Is it bad enough that Pawpaw trees should simply not be planted near one's
house?  What's a safe distance?

Any/all feedback appreciated.

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Gordon C. Nofs
Flint, MI.

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