Way Down Yonder in the Pawpaw Patch

We are finally getting some ripe fruit in a wild patch I’ve been monitoring all season.
I will share my thoughts on 2 of the better ones I found today. Nashville, TN

Yellow tint to the skin
Orange colored fruity/mango flavor
A little soft
Big seeds but not too many.
144 grams and 13.56 grams of seed weight
Nice round shape

I probably should have let this one ripen a bit more. I will grow back and get more from this tree in the next couple of days and let them sit on the counter.

Nice Green thick skin with few blemishes
Very mild nutty/ coconut flavor
smooth firm texture
Less seeds
165 grams and 8.5 grams of seed weight
Nice round shape

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Look promising!
All the early blooms got frozen here…a seedling I planted 11 years ago has a bunch of little ones, though, and it’s located 1/4 mile from any other tree. Trees that had ripe fruit 8/8/19 are just now with a few ripe ones here…scarce.

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We were effected by the freeze in this area as well. It’s sad but I guess that’s 2020. There was a tree not far from the trees where I found these fruits. It had a large amount of tasty mild fruit. Unfortunately the fruit was small and packed with seeds. Probably 16 seeds per fruit. When I found these they were so different. I am going back today to see if I can shake any of these better ones out of the tree. They both came from large trees about 30’ tall and they are hard to shake.

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Every year I go down by the river picking pawpaw. That’s where the bulk of them like to hang out at. There are so many the ground is just covered with them. We just walk around and find the ones that are not overripe. I put in a bunch of named ones this year trying to get away from the nasty aftertaste many on them have. I found a few wild ones missing it. Then spray painted them so I could find them again. Hopefully in a few years I will have some really good ones here.

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I am in the same boat waiting on named varieties to produce. I feel your pain lol.

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Sounds good- I’ve never found a wild patch in my area of middle TN with that much fruit, littering the ground. That would be something to see!

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Look along rivers. They really like the fertile river banks. The rivers also open up an area for sun to get in and they start piling up there.

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I’m with Tracker… plenty of pawpaw patches along the creeks here, but fruit is sparse most years, and almost never abundant… sometimes I’ll walk a half-mile of creek, with pawpaws all along the banks, before I hit upon a clump producing fruits.
The understory throughout the upland hardwood forest on the farm here is probably 70% pawpaws, but the overtopping canopy of oaks and hickories is so dense that most will never produce a fruit.

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I found a nice wild patch along an old overgrown fence row and another much larger patch on the edge of a field under some large oak and hickory. I like to think that some old farmer was enjoying these long before I was around. I’ve found many more large clonal patches with zero fruit. I probably need to look more around the riverbanks in my area.

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I have limited experience on which to base this statement, but I wonder if the pawpaws-along-rivers phenomenon is a northern thing.
I’ve paddled miles of the Duck river and never saw a pawpaw.
Here in the south they’re near small streams and creeks, in gullies and hollers. Never seen one on a river bank.

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I agree that gullies, ‘hollers’ and branches have them often.

But, perhaps try the Cumberland River…or the Clinch, the Calfkiller or the French Broad.

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I went on a hike along the Potomac through one of the larger pawpaw groves I know of in the area. I only went a mile and a half, but it is pretty much dominated by pawpaw along the river with some larger sycamores, maples, etc. above. I expect most of the trees are suckers from a spreading network or roots, but really don’t know.

Last year, there was fruit in almost every larger tree I looked up at and plenty on the ground. This year I think I was too early to see many drops that had ripened, but overall there was hardly any fruit at all in the trees either. I wonder if it was a late freeze or something else. Some trees had also lost a lot of leaves and many had some funky looking leaves as well. I didn’t really study the leaves well last year, so it might just be a late season thing. Do larger pawpaw groves become biennial?

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This matches descriptions I’ve heard of more northern rivers, hence my previous comment.
It would be cool to see!

At the Ohio Pawpaw Festival, I remember seeing the shore of the lake quite full of large pawpaws in the sun. And on the drive there, about the same on the roadsides.
I just have never seen anything like that in middle TN.
I have spotted a few here and there on the side of the interstate, but nothing as big or dense as zendog described or what I saw in Ohio.

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I think it may just be the area you were in. Pawpaw seeds are huge and do not travel far so they tend to clump. My dad in Alabama has them around him. I’m on the Shenandoah river close to where it joins the Potomac. Somewhat the same area Zendog is talking about. This year I put in named varieties, but two years ago I bought seedlings from all around the country. They have a different taste everywhere they grow and wanted to try different wild ones. None have fruited yet though. Wild ones here are just getting ready to ripen.

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I’d never knowingly seen a pawpaw until I was well into my 30s, despite having spent my youth prowling the woods and creeks of east-central Alabama. But… once someone showed me a pawpaw, I realized I’d seen them all my life, alongside the little creeks I grew up playing in… though on return trips home, I could easily spot the trees, but rarely did I find any with fruit hanging - except for the dwarf-flowered pawpaw(A.parviflora) that was common in the open on upland sites on our farm, bearing small, thumb-sized fruits, very seedy, festooned all along the branches.

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Round 2 of wild foraged fruit. The fruit is very mild and pleasant with hints of of fruity taste ranging from coconut, Concord grape, to a soda I like from Brazil called “Guarana”. The flesh to seed ratio is around 7-10%.

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Fun to see how many people on this thread are in TN (even middle TN where I am!) or KY. Here on the KY/TN border of middle TN the frost killed all the paw paws here. I have a few wild patches that I watch, along with some transplanted wild paw-paws I moved to my orchard and 4 known/named commercial tree paw paws. Not a single fruit on a single tree! Nashville is just about 25 minutes from me and it looks like you get a good harvest! amazing.

Just like @Lucky_P, I spent my entire childhood and much of adulthood in the woods, yet I had never noticed or known what a pawpaw was until I got into fruit growing. Now I must say that I’m with @BlueBerry in saying I do see them in “hollars” and along creek banks. BTW, blueberry, its fun seeing someone else who knows the calfkiller river! :slight_smile: We own some land near it and my friends and I used to float it on inner tubes! Fun times

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Another Middle TN person here. I am not sure I have ever seen a pawpaw tree in the area I have grew up in… My mother-in-law said there use to be quite a few where she grew up (which is where my mother grew up and very close to where I grew up and live now) but she hasn’t seen any in years! I would love to come up on some wild ones in the woods and perhaps I am just overlooking them :man_shrugging: Great to see several of you all so close to me and in the surrounding areas in this thread :+1:

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I’m seeing just a few fruits here and there in the wild. Nothing ripe yet that I have encountered but clearly @Vid is finding some.

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Here ., a Pawpaw could be found in many places .
From river bottoms to high knobs.
Some Years, with a late spring frost, the big rivers can have a fog , that helps protect from frost.
And the high knobs may be out of the frost.
So that maybe where to look .? Sometimes ?
Other years it’s mid elevations , up a Hollow .,

Between now and frost the leafs will tun yellow.
So , get someone to “Drive” and riding shotgun, scope out the Pawpaw patches for next years visits.
They are comon .the leaf shape, and yellow , will make patches visible , Fruit may be gone , when leafs are yellow.
But next year ?

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