Pawpaw Varieties


Do we have any pawpaw experts in our group?

I’m wondering what if any variation there is among pawpaw varieties in terms of taste, vigor and precocity. There’s a lot of varieties out there and it seems unclear which is the “standard.”

Any additional pawpaw info would be great! Have a good year everyone!


Maybe you’ll get some recommendations…I think Sunflower by itself would be nice since it’s only reliable self-fertile one people say and still tasty.
Mango since it grows so much faster than others and still tasty.
then the larger or Peterson varieties like Overleese/Davis/Shenandoah maybe Susquehanna/Wabash …

The newer ones bred like Maria’s Joy, Summer Delight (under ‘Fruit Tree’ section) and the reallly new pawpaw crosses (the ‘Premium pawpaw seed’ section below) that Cliff England has sound cool (combine earliness with largeness/flavor or skin yellowness so can see easier on tree… but these are very experimental):

Other nurseries will have the common ones l mentioned above.


The Peterson varieties bred in West Virginia are considered to be among the best.

Among those, my favorite is Allegheny (mango avacado taste and texture; early ripening), followed by Shenandoah (like banana pudding) and then PA Golden.


Here is a photo I took of a particularly good Allegheny.



It legitimately tastes like mango? Here I thought the one called, “Mango” tasted like a mango… I can’t wait to try these.


Those new varieties certainly sound delicious.


I can’t give any recommendations. I got some seed from Cliff England (250x39) and some random seed from KSU. Since they are photosensitive for the first couple years, I’ve been growing them in root pruning containers where I can control the light. They have not had two growing seasons and are ready for the field. I’ll be planting them as soon as I get a chance but certainly before they break dormancy this spring. I plan to see what I get first. I’ll then decide which ones if any I’ll graft to named varieties.


I have yet to try a known cultivar, mine are twigs.

I have heard many call sunflower pretty underwhelming, if i was going to do a single tree i would probably go another commonly recommended variety and once 4-5 feet tall look at grafting a pollenizer branch or 3. I think if you had allegheny, Shenandoah, halvin, overleese, etc. in some combination you would be well-set (only reason i didnt put mango in there is i am uncertain if its vigor might be a problem in a multi-graft)


So far my Mango has the same vigor as PA Golden. We’ll see if that changes, but I did also hear poor things about Sunflower.


Another consideration with pawpaws is whether a variety is high or low in acetogenins, which are potential neurotoxins. If you want to know more, see

Many people experience stomach problems when eating pawpaws and that may or may not have anything to do with the acetogenins. I grow pawpaws but my son cannot eat them because he gets an upset stomach. The varieties Sunflower and Wells consistently show very low acetogenin levels. Overleese consistently shows high levels.


Pawpaws are hefty like bananas but with a slightly oily consistency, much akin to the flesh of papaya.

They can have a laxative effect, which is amplified if the fruit is dried, which is not recommended.


Who are those hating on Sunflower and have they ever tasted one? I have only had a couple of my grafted tree produce. Sunflower to me held its own with Shenandoah and both were improvements on the wild fruit I have eaten. before you go to deep into the pawpaw patch I would suggest you try a fruit. Many folks don’t care for them. I like them but after a few each season I tend to tire of them.

On the Sunflower I was sort of kidding, but I really only recall folks stating others not liking and not 1st hand hate. It’s still one of the cultivars recommended by KSU. Pawpaw development is really in infancy compared to most fruit with selections being either wild select or 1st or 2nd generation Which gives hope for a lot of improvement for my grandkids.



I have always thought that Paw Paws looked good, but i am not sure how they would do for me here. We have heavy clay soil, with an average of 1-4 days of flooding a year. Apples, pears, and berries all do well for me. Climate zone 8a.


I think Sunflower is very good. I’ve been to taste testings with 8-10 varieties on two occasions, including most or all of the Peterson varieties, and Sunflower was one of my favorites. (I’ve had very limited fruit from my own trees so far.)


Here’s Halvin. Pictures sent from Tyler Halvin a friend to me.

Asimina triloba ‘Halvin’

Asimina triloba ‘Halvin’

Asimina triloba ‘Halvin’



Interesting topic. Acetogenins have diverse properties:. Neurotoxicity, not good; antitumor, good. I don’t know if human studies have been done.


I agree. It looked like to me through my very limited research that Acetogenins were good for us, but neurotoxicity doesn’t sound too great…


Is there much difference in taste among varieties?


Acetogenins are basically insecticides produced by the annonaceae. They are strong mitochondrial poisons. That’s why insects generally avoid pawpaw trees. As a general rule acetogenins should not be consumed by human beings. It appears that they may cause parkinsons disease in populations in the Caribbean who eat soursop. It is also possible that they can be used as medicinal agents, just as arsenic and castor beans can be used medicinally, but they are still toxins. Acetogenins are very high in plant tissues, a little lower in unripe fruits, and much lower in ripe fruits. Research of aetogenins in pawpaws has just begun.


Maybe if I eat enough pawpaws the chiggers will leave me alone.