Just for you, paw-paw lovers


Tried to grow the paw paw. Was a bit of a failure sadly. I remember reading on a post that many of the paw paw varieties created now are going to be outdated varieties in 10 years.

Peterson varieties are somewhat outdated. He was one of the first, but now colleges have stepped in with massive money.

Glad the Brits have found our humble fruit after a fourth of a Millennium!

I have 2 common Paw Paw trees with a dozen root suckers spread across the yard. The raccoons, ground hogs, and opossums don’t think they are outdated.


That’s kindof where my thinking goes. “Outdated” is for the academics and entrepreneurs. As I intend to eat it, not sell it, whatever is on my trees will be infinitely better than whatever the think tank comes up with. Most of what makes it to market pales in comparison to it’s in-yard cousins.


Thing is paw paw perish so fast that all you can get is backyard paw paw. Apples last up to a year depending on variety, pears last 8 months presuming it is not canned, peaches last forever if canned, cherries last forever if frozen. Paw Paw you get 2-3 days off the tree. There are ways varieties can become outdated. Neal Peterson claimed people were trying to work on. getting paw paw to actually grow on their own roots. This would allow your paw paw to function like it would in nature and created a orchard of paw paw. Second way is the flavors can become outdated. Third way is better attributes. We see the attribute piece be done all the time with better ripening time or better disease resistance. The ripening time can be crucial for some people. Another crucial thing that could be improved with paw paw is how slow growing paw paw are. What happened to my paw paw was animal damage. None of my bigger trees have issues with animal damage but small trees do. Most if not all paw paw come as small trees that will need heavy protection early on.

What colleges are spending massive money on pawpaw? If true why would they?


What I have heard is that a lot of focus now is on breeding varieties that don’t have the annonacin toxin.

The jury is still out on whether annonacin is actually harmful, but the universities strongly believe demand is there for pawpaws which are free of it.

Pawpaws will last forever if you freeze them. Not sure if they’e cannable. Only thing I ever canned was spaghetti sauce, and I froze that too because I didn’t trust I followed instructions enough to risk losing it.

Flavors can go out of fashion. And there is no quintessential pawpaw flavor, which, for me is one of the perks. But you say “that tastes like apple” and almost everyone will go to a relatively common starting point, even though there are thousands of different tasting apples, most changing throughout that “fresh” storage life. They’re not really out of date in that regard. From a taste and health standpoint, many of the easily mass marketed products are little above cardboard. On the other hand, areas with little healthy to offer can still get all their vitamins and minerals from the pale comparisons, and we don’t have to wonder which greens in our yard the dogs peed on.
Woodie Walker is currently in my neck of the woods, and I know he’s looking forward to research focused on flavor and durability. I welcome that, and I’d love to be able to see it in the stores, but I won’t consider a marketable standard as superior to the ones that prefer to stay close to home.

I’m not sure this sentence came out like you intended. It’s precisely how this tree functions in nature that makes it a challenge to market the tree itself more broadly. It’s also what makes it attractive to universities. It’s fascinating that its seed reaches for maximum diversity at the same time as the tree itself prefers to create self-sterile clumps in areas where its available natural pollinators may not naturally travel far enough to reach a viable flower. It wants sun to fruit, but shade to grow beyond adolescence. I suspect breeding could get it a lot closer to more self-fertile true-to seed varietals (I’m looking at you Antonovka) but it’s current breeding preferences are hundreds of generations behind even the apple, which still resists such consistency today. It’s a beautiful paradox.
Kudos to Peterson, and Woodie, and Cliff for getting us this far. kudos to Blake, and Richard, and the others seeking to raise the bar for science and the masses. If what I have are one day the Irish Peach, Ellison’s Orange, Siberian C, & Iranian of the Pawpaw world, they still won’t be so much out of date as they’ll be heirloom collectibles.

Why did it fail?

I believe only Kentucky SU has a breeding program and maybe OSU is looking at medicinal qualities. Massive money? I guess that’s a relative term. I don’t know enough about paw paws to suggest Peterson’s varieties are obsolete or otherwise, but the owner of Edible Landscaping, who has been interested in and marketing paw-paws for over a quarter of a century, doesn’t think so.

I’m interested in the opinion of more knowledgeable paw-paw growers on this forum, How do the Kentucky selected paw-paws compare to Peterson’s best?


@Robert are there specific varieties you consider contemporary? KSU releases?

I’m not sure which of the threads had it, but yes a lab in Europe has already (years ago) developed a proprietary process for propagating pawpaw on it’s own roots. I believe it was through tissue culture, and it might have been @TrilobaTracker who posted about it from a conference?


I think you’re referring to Bock Bio Science, which is based in Germany. Here’s a link about their work:


Possibly you’ve seen Blake Cothron’s book? He gives a description of all named cultivars as of his publication date.
Basically, I have a seedling collection…and some of the KSU seedlings are more vigorous than an average one from the forest…but only marginally so. Most too small to have fruited…but in a couple more years.
This fruit comes closer to ‘true’ from seeds than many plant species.

It seems like KSU has an abundance of Sunflower and Mango trees as they distribute both for free scions annually. Both of those varieties are known as strong growers to my knowledge, so that would explain their progeny having higher than average vigor.

Perhaps it does when it pollinates itself, which I believe it can, having seen isolated paw-paws produce fruit. However, I ordered a seedling from Edible Landscaping because Michael, the owner, was pushing the idea that they were as good as grafted trees. Mine isn’t- the pulp is very good but the pulp to seed ratio is not.

Which were around before their breeding program, I believe.

@disc4tw Yep that’s the outfit I have referred to in the past.
They were at the 2016 conference at KSU if I’m not mistaken.


Actually, no, self pollination has no relationship to my comment about trueness from seeds.