Opinions on 'PA Golden' Pawpaw?

I have two pawpaw trees growing. PA Golden and Shenandoah. I hear that Shenandoah is quite agreeable, but I hear differing opinions on PA Golden. I’m wondering if I should keep growing it or if I should replace it with a better tasting variety. Both trees are pretty small at this point, only about 2 ft tall.

Can anyone who has tasted a PA golden weigh in here? The thing I am particularly concerned about is aftertaste. I heard that PA golden is one of the particularly bad offenders in this regard

I know there are a few PA goldens and I’m not sure which one I have… I got it from Burnt Ridge Nursery. I’m assuming it’s a #1.

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Neal Peterson has a poor opinion of Pensylvania Golden, but I imagine varieties may perform differently in different locations. For one thing, it is supposed to be early, and in a short growing season, something that ripens will be better than something that won’t.

You will want cross-pollination for your Shenandoah. If these are your only trees, why not let them both flower as soon as they can so you can get fruit. If you don’t like PA, you can graft most of it to something else later, but why not let it flower too for more pollinization options.


They seem pretty forgiving on how close together they are as long as the water and sun are present. They are naturally understory trees after all. Stick a third in there somewhere. Of the few I’ve tasted, NC-1 and Tropical Treat made me the happiest. I did not bother with cyphering things like tannin or aftertaste or trace-chemical XYZ and such. Those two made me wish I could buy a basketful whereas the others (in comparison) just left me glad to have the one each I got. Can’t even recall which offhand. I’m fairly sure I missed the Shenandoah, or that it was small and eaten under-ripe.

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The PA Golden Unknown came from a repository that lost the tag. To date there is no viable test to determine its identity.

There are 3 PA Goldens. Actually called 1, 2, and 3. Everyone that has tasted PA Golden says it’s aftertaste is pretty bad. I think Murky gave pretty good advice though.

Thanks for the thoughts. I bought a Susquehanna that I will put between them and keep the PA Golden for pollination.

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I manage an orchard with a single paw paw tree- it is productive. I wonder if some paw paws are self-fertile while others are not or if the literature just gets it wrong. I’m thinking the former is most likely. Unfortunately, I don’t know the name of the paw paw, but it must have been Lee Reich’s favorite about 25 years ago because he was the consultant for the orchard plan. I wonder if he had suggested two varieties. Maybe one died.

If it was 25 years ago there’s a good chance it was Sunflower, known to be self fertile and likely available at the time.


Yup, it was available and I grow it. It is the best flavored one I have, the other is PA Golden. Not really very good here. Maybe early give it less time to get up sugar, but it also has more of that slight toxic flavor that turns some of us off to paw paws.

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Recent studies by KSU suggest all pawpaws are self-fertile to some degree. Some more than others, Sunflower being an example of a more highly self-fertile one.
There are lots of stories of lone pawpaw trees setting fruit.

Some bad pawpaws can definitely have a “toxic” flavor. Also referred to as “resinous” or “phenolic.”


That off taste is why I recommend folks tried named varieties if their only experience is with wild fruit. I’m confident you have more experience than me with both accounts :wink:

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