Wednesday, April 4, 2007
This extreme close-up shows the tiny flowers (about the size of a dime) of the pawpaw tree. This fascinating tree fills the understory of the woods around the streams in our neighborhood. In the spring these mahogany-colored flowers emit a slight fetid odor which attracts flies which are their chief pollinator. Pawpaws create a large and unusual fruit which we find among the leaves of autumn. The green-yellow oddly-shaped fruit has a custardy texture with a banana-mango flavor. This pawpaw is Asimina triloba, the northernmost member of the custardapple family -- typically a tropical plant. An amazing side note is that this tree is the only host of the zebra swallowtail butterfly!