SAA Overleese paw paws

Look at how yellow this hand of paw paws got!

They almost look like mangos!


That’s awesome! I have had a couple in years past turn very yellow off the tree, but it has not been a consistent thing. I think that’s a lot of the challenge of pawpaws - a tree may exhibit something interesting one time, but not year after year. This was one fruit off one tree one year, but I’ve not seen it happen again.


That’s exactly true for this tree, too. Last year, the fruits were typical greenish. But this year they’re very yellow. That cluster above was fresh of the tree. It’ll probably get as yellow as yours after a day or two.

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I concur … this year they turned more yellow than commonly happens.

From what I’ve found, the SAA-Overleese is the seedling of the Sweet Alice and Overleese. There were at least three cultivars developed from those seeds and they were simply named SAA- , SAB-, and SAC-Overleese. You can find SAB-Overleese saplings advertised at a few nurseries, but I’m not sure if anyone knows of any SAC-Overleese.



John Gordon, living in Amherst, N.Y., contributed a series of varieties whose ancestry can be traced to Zimmerman germplasm (Fig. 2). Gordon gathered seed from trees belonging to George L. Slate of Cornell University who in turn had gathered his seed from trees on Zimmerman’s estate. Gordon named one variety ‘SAA-Zimmerman’ in 1985 and a series of others ‘Pennsylvania Golden No.1’, ‘No.2’, ‘No.3’ and ‘No.4’ in 1986. This series of varieties are noted for their early season of ripening. Three other varieties he introduced in that same year are seedlings of ‘Overleese’, a series called ‘SAA-, ‘SAB-, and ‘SAC-Overleese’.


Red Fern Farm’s cultivar ‘X-Sweet’/‘Extra Sweet’ is SAA Overleese.
please let others know guys.

Are you sure @Barkslip? I have not heard that prior but I know you visit with Tom personally. I was under the impression that he bred “Sweet” himself as a seedling of Shenandoah and Susquehanna.

He found an old map of where the tree is located and he thought it was a seedling but it’s SAA Overleese.

It’s an old orchard where he and I believe another person or group of pawpaw people planted a trial orchard ‘way back in the day’.

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Well, I grafted both Sweet and SAA Overleese this year so it’s good to know Tom thinks they are the same. Has he run genetic tests or is there some other way he figured it out?

It’s a perfect map. I double checked via email because he said so in person.

Now you can keep it organized. The idea is to change you label of course!

best regards,


My first ripe SAA Overleese of 2022!

This year my tree set more fruit than last year, but they look slightly smaller. Today’s fruit was DELICIOUS. Perfect, creamy, consistent texture. Delicious flavour, sweet and tropical, no bitter flavors or “off” flavors. It is interesting, because my SAA Overleese is WAY BETTER than the KSU atwood that is about 10 feet away. Maybe it is because this is the Atwood’s first bearing year (versus bearing year 3 for the SAA Overleese), but the atwood was starchy and had a weird burnt/bitter off-flavor, and also had random sections of white, hard, unripe flesh inside the ripe fruits. So far, the only redeeming factor for the Atwood is it’s vigour, but even on that front the SAA Overleese is comparable. The SAA Overleese was planted in 2016, and bore in 2020 for the first time. The Atwood was planted in 2018, and bore for the first time in 2022. I prune the trees, so they are both about the same height. I’m hopeful that the Atwood will get better with age, but so far, for me, the SAA-Overleese is hands-down the better fruit.

Pics of today’s SAA Overleese:


I’d hang in there with Atwood- it stunned my tasting group a few days ago.


At least there’s hope!

No. From his own writings…John Gordon picked these from populations of seedlings he grew out. ‘SAA’ meant 'Saved As “A”(meaning #1/the best), 'Saved as ‘‘B’’. ‘Saved as ‘C’’. etc.
So… SAA Overleese was his pick as the best Overleese seedling, SAA Zimmerman was his pick as the best seedling of Zimmerman, etc.

Because of the issue that many folks have encountered with grafts declining and dying off, JHG opined…no later than the early 1990s… that if he were 30 years younger and starting over, that, rather than planting grafted pawpaws, he’d plant seeds of named varieties and select those seedlings with largest leaves for outplanting.


Good information!

Do you suppose large leaf size correlates with large fruit size?

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I don’t know the reasoning behind JHG making this selection criterion unless he’d noted that sort of correlation. He passed away in 2012, so there’s no asking for clarification…


Youve convinced me to add SAA to my collection


I think larger leaf indicates more shade tolerance. The small leaves are adapted to full sun and large leaves are designed to get as much light as possible through the canopy. At least thats the way most other plants work. I could be wrong. Pawpaw is a different beast.


I believe you’re correct. That’s what I thought and had heard about pawpaw leaves and also what I have seen comparing wild trees in shaded environments to those growing in full sun.