[NAFEX] Seeking advice about paw paws

mauch1 at aol.com mauch1 at aol.com
Wed Apr 19 15:20:33 EDT 2006

--Is there a reasonable expectation of getting tasty fruits from  
seedlings? Or do I need to purchase grafted trees (about $25 each  
from Raintree)? Being optimistic about the quality of seedlings, I  
would like to try raising the trees from seed, bu I'm getting too old  
to wait years for fruit and then be disappointed in the taste.--
Well, I've grown grafted and seedling pawpaws, and have grafted my own.
Purchased grafted pawpaws will produce fruit about 2 years earlier than
seedling trees (on average).  I'd say you'll start getting flowers (and 
remember you have to have flowers on two different varieties to get fruit) 
about 4 years after planting (might be 3-5).  Anybody's experience contradict
Once you get flowers, it helps (and is very easy) to hand pollinate.  
Neal Peterson, founder of the PawPaw Foundation, now has his own varieties (3)
of 'scienfically bred/selected' varieties.  But I think you're looking at 2007 to
get trees from him as he only ships bareroot and only in the Spring.  
Seedlings will produce fruit.  Sometimes they're small and sometimes they're large.  (Small
is 3 or so inches long and 2 wide (the fruits are kind of potato or been shaped).  Large are
4-5 inches long and 3 inches wide.  Given the size of the seeds (~1 inch) it can make 
a difference in how much flesh there is.
Flavor.  I haven't tasted that many varieties.  But I loved Pawpaws until my wife, who is 
a 'supertaster' (she is definitively more sensitive to taste and smells than I am), pointed
out the aftertaste of pawpaws which can be bitter, at least in some varieties.  Now
I don't like them nearly as much as I used to because I'm always looking for that 
taste to be present.  Funny how the mind can emphasize or blind you to something 
until it's pointed out, and then you can't go back to your previous blissful state.
Others have pointed out a local source to you which sounds excellent.  My BYFG group
usually has a Pawpaw tasting tour in September, to go and taste pawpaws in various 
locations in PA.
Take care.
Chris Mauchline
SE PA, zone 6
40° 5' N 75° 51'W
~650 ft elevation
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