Pawpaw (Asimina triloba Annonaceae) refers to papaya. It is also known as Paw Paw, Papaw, Poor Man's Banana, Hoosier Banana, etc. Carica Papaya is also known as Pawpaw in Australia. Pawpaw is the largest edible fruit native to America, with individual fruits weigh 5 to 16 ounces and are 3 to 6 inches in length. The larger sizes appear plump, similar to the mango. The fruit usually has 10 to 14 seeds in two rows. The brownish to blackish seeds which length is 1/2 to 1-1/2 inches are shaped like lima beans.Pawpaw fruits often occur as clusters of up to nine individual fruits. The ripe fruit is soft and thin skinned.

When ripe, it is soft and has a pronounced perfumed fragrance. The yellow flesh is custard like and highly nutritious. The best fruit has a complex, tropical flavor unlike any other temperate zone fruit. At present, the primary use of pawpaws is for fresh eating out of hand. The ripe fruit is very perishable with a shelf life of 2 or 3 days, but will keep up to 3 weeks if it is refrigerated at 40° - 45° F.

There are as many as 60 pawpaw cultivars, to wit:

(1) Davis described as green skinned, with yellow flesh and small fruit, with large seed and with good flavor
(2) Sunflower described as yellowish skinned, with golden flesh, with a fruit which is medium large, with few seeds and good flavor
(3) Mitchell described as slightly yellow skinned, with golden flesh and with excellent flavor
(4) Overleese described as large fruit pawpaw but with fewer seeds, also with excellent flavor
(5) Prolific with large fruit, yellow flesh and excellent flavor
(6) Mary Foos Johnson description is similar to sunflower
(7) Sweet Alice is a prolific bearer cultivar, with medium large fruit. Yellow flesh and good flavor
(8) Taytoo described as yellow fleshed and light green skinned pawpaw cultivar. With medium fruit and excellent flavor. It is also a prolific bearer like sweet alice
(9) Wells described as green skinned, orange fleshed cultivar, with a fruit which is quite large but the flavor is superb

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