Named vs. Wild PawPaw

Have a quick question. I have millions of wild paw paw in the woods around me. Love the taste of pawpaw but, hate the metal after taste. Do any of the named varieties not have the metal aftertaste and are they that much better that they are worth buying?


Sunflower is the one named variety I’ve heard might have a metallic aftertaste. Otherwise the named varieties lack the metallic taste, from reports I read.


@hambone Your growing wild ones? Used to fish your way every year. Little surprised they grow there. Do yours have the after taste? Curious as to if all the wilds taste like that or just mine.

The named varieties generally aim to have less of that aftertaste, especially Peterson’s.

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@tjasko Burnt Ridge has potted ones somewhat cheap and I’m on the verge of buying two of them. So you think the petersons are worth paying for even with an unlimited supply of wilds? Neil Peterson lives not too far from me. Shame I do not know him.

I grow both seedlings of good parents and named varieties. The wild ones are mainly in the Northern section of my county, in deep, rich soil, the type of soil mainly now growing corn and soybeans. Most people here have never seen a pawpaw, a few remember the old poem but it’s a forgotten fruit.

The wild ones around here only really have one flavor. Sort of mango flavor. I’ve heard the named varieties have several flavors. Vanilla, banana, mango, ect. When you get a chance could you describe the named ones you have? Really interested in vanilla and banana.


My grafts are still young so the only named varieties I have tasted are Sweet Alice- ho hum, don’t know why it was even named; Shenandoah- ditto, bland, doesn’t even taste like a pawpaw to me; and Nyomi’s Delicious- nothing remarkable either.

My best tasting pawpaw so far, by far, is a “Select Seedling” from Edible Landscaping in Afton, Va. Michael there told me the parent was probably Mango- OMG is it good- tastes tropical, almost like a Star Fruit, with mango, maybe some canteloupe, who knows.

From a ton of research I’m betting that Mango is a taste winner- will know in a few years. Ditto KSU Chappell, Susquehanna, KSU Benson, possibly Overleese.

Those are the ones I’d concentrate on.


Mango is very good. It gets pretty sweet if ripened until very soft. Still mostly green color but it will be very soft. It tastes similar to the local wild ones ive had but sweeter and less of the metallic aftertaste id say but ive mever done side by side blind testing. Susquehanna is the other one ive had. I like it even better than mango. I think it is sweeter than mango, very strong fruity flavor and a little less of the pawpaw funk. The texture is not custardy like mango. It is firm and melting. Kind of like an avocado that is just starting to ripen. You can scoup out big chunks of it. Very nice.


I think I’ve had a pretty similar experience with wild pawpaws. The vast majority that I find in western PA have a similar flavor profile with a bitter aftertaste. There are some better tasting ones without any bitterness out there if you search enough in different areas, but they can be hard to come by.

I’ve tried some different named varieties (including NC-1, Shenandoah, Susquehanna, Allegheny, & PA Golden) and I definitely think that the better named varieties are worth purchasing. The flavor profiles of the named varieties really do vary a lot more than those you’d typically find from wild trees. If you have some wild trees in a good location that you’d be able to graft on, then I would maybe go that route and trade for some named variety scionwood on here.

I agree with hambone in his selections, though I quite liked Shenandoah. He’s right that it’s mild and doesn’t really taste like a pawpaw (more like a vanilla pudding to me), but I really like that uniqueness. I think that any of the Peterson or KSU varieties are a safe bet for good, bitter/metallic-free fruit. Of the older varieties: Overleese, Mango, and NC-1 should all fit that bill as well.

I listed my opinions on 5 varieties here: Pawpaw Varieties - #183 by TJ_westPA


I might get ten or so Susquehanna this year for first time and cannot wait to taste them. Thanks for comparison to Mango. Susquehanna has taken its sweet time to bear but we have had a bad summer drought three years in a row. Hoping for a “tropical fruity” component.

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@TJ_westPA Thanks for that. Those are excellent descriptions. These are an add on to a burnt ridge nursery order. From what they have and what everyone is saying I think I am going to try Shenandoah and NC1. I like the vanilla pudding and banana. Already have hundreds of mango so don’t need that. Wish I had known these didn’t have metal taste years ago.

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You guys have given me some great descriptions. How quick do the grafted versions start kicking out fruit? Seedlings can be like 10 years.

I planted mango in 2016 and had a few fruits in 2018. Then had a couple dozen in 2019. I planted susquehanna in 2014 and had my first fruits in summer 2019. Im still waiting on shenandoah planted in 2014.

Couple dozen is a big crop. The biggest wild ones would be lucky to have that many. That’s also pretty short time. Your making this purchase a lot easier. It’s an add on to a burnt ridge order so only have what they have to pick from. Thinking shenandoah and NC1. I’m excited. No more metal.

You have done something right. I bought potted Shanandoah and Mango in 2015.

Shanandoah (only a bit over 3’ ) has flowered every year since 2017 but set no fruit because it has no cross pollination partner.

Mango (6’ tall) has not produced a single flower. I don’t see any flower bud this year, either.

My pawpaw trees are in partial shade which is a mistake.

3-5 years seems to be the norm.

mamuang: My Mango and Shenandoah have the same behavior as yours. My Mango is almost 6’ and hasn’t produced any flower buds yet, while my Shenandoah produces flower buds ever year and started at 1.5 ft tall. I’m hoping for fruit this year on my Allegheny(74"), Wabash(74"), and maybe Shenandoah (64"); all planted in mid-late summer of 2016.

Yes, my Shanandoah started flowering at about 1.5 ft tall, too. It is a slow growing tree that is very precocious. I saw a full grown Shanandoah last summer. It was at least 12 ft tall so there is hope :smile:

A friend has Sunflower that has flowered yearly so I will ask him for some pollen. A kind member here send me scion wood with flowers on it. Maybe, cross pollination would occur.

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My mango is a fast grower. Planted as a 3ft+ potted tree from jf&e nursery in florida. Its probably 12 ft tall now. Susquehanna is around 8 ft. My shenandoah flowers annually but is barely 4 ft tall and drops flowers. It has some sort of disease. I think mango and susquehanna have it too but dont seem as bothered by it. They all have cankers near the soil line and/or elsewhere. Actually i just chopped all the branches off my shenandoah and topped it to see if it grows back some newer healthier wood. Or it finally kicks the bucket. When pruning i see bluish green discoloration in the older wood. But that probably for another topic.

@mamuang Have you tried fertilizing them heavily and irrigating? My wont grow much if i dont do that. They really shut down growth if the soil dries out in a hot spell. But our climates are very different. Im in AL zone 7b 8a.

Here is a thread where it looks like the problem in the older wood,with lesions and blue color is discussed a