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Paw Paw

The Paw Paw, also known as the "Indiana bananna" is a true tropical exotic for cooler climes, and would provide a unique treat as a specimen plant for public properties. This American native has rarely been used in urban areas. However, where it has been used, it has proved to be an urban tolerant plant. Carefully sited, this plant can make an excellent addition to your urban inventory. (see photos below)

This plant can be grown either single or multi-stemmed. As a single leadered plant, it has large leaves and a regular outline that looks somewhat like littleleaf linden if grown in relatively high light. The flowers are ornamental and the fruit is interesting, large and edible. It has been considered for use as a minor fruit crop. These plants appear to tolerate alkaline soils. The wound response is not known, nor is the influence of tree lawn size known. Routine use it in a tree lawn smaller than four feet is not desirable. The bold foliage gives a tropical look to the plant that can be stunning in high visibilty areas.

The plant does produce suckers, however in an area that is regularly mowed/maintained this should not be a major problem, and is outweighed by the ornamental potential of the plant as well as its potential to increase biodiversity. An interesting note: The tree has been studied as a source for natural pesticides.

For More information, check out the Kentucky State University Pawpaw Research Project. A great Site. (Also see their page of Paw Paw Links)

Ohio Paw Paws
Above photo courtesy of OSU dept. of Urban Forestry
Paw Paw Flower
Paw Paw Flower (above). Photo courtesy of Kentucky State Univ. Paw Paw Project
Paw Paw leaves
Paw Paw Leaves. Above photo courtesy of OSU dept. of Urban Forestry
(If you have a photo of these trees in an urban environment that you would like to donate for use on this site, please contact the webmaster.)

Shade Tree Home Page
T. Davis Sydnor, Ph. D. and Nick E. D'Amato
Urban Forestry Department
School of Natural Resources
The Ohio State University
2021 Coffey Road,
Columbus OH 43210
(614) 292-3865