The Ultimate Pawpaw Variety Guide


Florian’s is pretty good but he’s missing a lot of new ones I have on my website.

I need some updates too.

1 Like

Many of these varieties are people just finding a good wild, slapping a name on it, and marketing it. The breeding work is only combining the same things. No one is making any real improvements. Where is the seedless pawpaw with zero metal aftertaste?

1 Like

That was honestly one of my worries when growing them. I may get one that has a very unpleasant aftertaste. Without being able to taste these fruit it is hard to get a grasp on which fruit taste like what in terms of cultivars and I don’t like anywhere close to where they have festivals like Ohio or Indiana. I guess they likely don’t have festivals where I am for them because they do not naturally grow here. Another concern of mine was the water needs. I asked on here and someone from my state chimed in and said that even with winter watering paw paw did not really grow well here.

Find out if anyone from your area on here is growing them. They have taproots that dig down looking for water. The metal aftertaste is what makes or breaks a pawpaw variety for me. They all taste good to that point.

Do you, or anyone else, have more details on the Tom Wahl varieties?

My website has some information from my discussion directly with Tom. Anything in particular you are interested in learning? “Sweet” he found is actually SAA Overleese from an old orchard (this needs corrected on my site still). Otherwise his varieties are seedlings of Shenandoah and Susquehanna for the most part.

What would you consider real improvements?

Larger size, higher productivity, stronger (or milder) taste, freestone, disease resistance, these are all things that can be improved.

Also consider people have been breeding traditionally recognized fruits like apples and pears for thousands of years. Pawpaws have been bred for much less than that. With dedicated breeding programs I think you’ll see vast improvement in a relatively short time.

Where is the seedless apple? Nobody seems to mind them with seeds, why should pawpaws be held to a different standard?


Some things have been bred and there have been new innovations and others you end up sticking with the tried and true. There are a lot of good apples that are new like a honeycrisp or fuji apple. Many pears are still varieties from old times like a Comice or 1900s like a Warren or Magness. I think generally speaking the longer the time needed the less new varieties come out. Apples can be grown in a few years on dwarfing rootstock now. Pears still take 10 years to really bring a pear to market. Also it helps with breeding efforts if there is money to be had. A lot of breeding is done in the stone fruit field because Dave Wilson has the Zaiger family trying to build new and better varieties for the market of growers and sellers. The apple field has a lot of breeding going on but a lot goes into the club market like Lucy or tree sales are restricted like cosmic crisp. In other words there is lots of innovation going on in the apple field but restrictions make it tough. If true breeding goes on into the paw paw program it is true where do we start and how long will it take. Another deterrent to growing paw paw is a grafted tree takes 6 or 7 years in ground to produce. Not a short time and after 40 years a paw paw tree that is grafted will be quite old making it live around the same as a cherry. I got some paw paw trees but at the young age many are sold at they need heavy protection so I lost mine.

Your right it was a bad statement. My point was there is not a need for new varieties. The need is less seed and metal taste. I look at stone fruit the same way. They keep coming out with new varieties, but no one addresses brown rot or other issues. A great tasting new peach variety is nothing, most of them taste good. But a brown rot resistant peach would be a real improvement.


Okay so there’s nothing unique about “sweet”? That was one I was interested in. But I don’t have the SAA O variety yet so maybe it’s still worth it.

He’s way up in Iowa, correct? So mid and late season for him is probably similar to my 5b in New England. It seems the one with the most “extreme” adjectives is Regulus. Is that his most preferred one of the bunch? He does call it his “superstar”.

Most of your descriptions are similar for each one…large fruit, low seed, great taste, etc. I’m looking for a little bit more info on the flavor notes and the vigor. Do any of those have a taste that stands out from other varieties? Do they have any chemical aftertaste? My relatively low GDDs lead me to prefer varieties that put on fast growth (Nyomi D, Chappell, etc) so I usually try to only graft vigorous cultivars unless it’s something unique (like piña colada).

Thanks! Love the site.

1 Like

I’m curious to know what varieties you have tried? Everyone has different taste buds but of the improved varieties I have had I don’t recall any metallic or bad aftertaste.
Every now and then I’ll run across a wild tree that isn’t great but even most wild ones in my area are decent.