The native papaw. Page: 1
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THE NATIVE PAPAW
By H. P. GOrLD, principal horticulturist, in charge, Division of Fruit and
Vegetable Crops and Diseases, Bureau of Plantt Industry
But little of importance has been written concerning the native
papaw, doubtless because little has been done toward its domestication.
It still remains largely an unknown fruit from the standpoint
of improvement through cultivation. It has been the subject of a
considerable number of brief popular articles in the horticultural
and agricultural press, in many cases mainly expressions of the high
favor in which the fruit was held by the writers or narratives of
personal experiences with the fruit. One or two State horticultural
societies have published short articles on the papaw, and it is briefly
discussed in horticultural encyclopedias. A brief pamphlet (no
longer available) by the late James A. Little, of Indiana, entitled
"A Treatise on the Papaw," is a more ambitious study of this fruit
than most of the articles published. This, however, is a rather personal
discussion and consists in part of an expression of the writer's
fondness for the fruit and his estimate of it.
While considerable information concerning the papaw is to be
found in such articles, it is, nevertheless, fragmentary and incomplete,
and perhaps not all the experience described could be repeated
with like results. One of the most informing articles that has
appeared was published under the title "The Best Pawpaws," in the
Journal of Heredity, volume 8, No. 1, pages 21-33, in January 1917.
The substance of this article was based on information received
incident to a prize offered by the Journal for reports on trees and
fruits of the papaw of special merit.
This leaflet is based largely on a review of the meager literature
of the subject.
Name and Relationship
The name is written in various ways, including "papaw," as in
the title, "pawpaw," and "paw-paw." There are four post offices
bearing this name, one of which, according to the United States
Official Postal Guide, is written "Pawpaw" and the others "Paw
Paw." The form preferred as applied to the fruit is "papaw." The
designation "Indiana banana" has also been used.
The native papaw belongs to the Annonaceae or custard-apple family
and is known to botanists under the name Asinina triloba. All
the other main groups of this plant family are tropical or subtropical
in their distribution and include such fruits as the soursop, sweetsop,
pond-apple, custard-apple, and cherimoya. There are several species
of Asimina, but only two, A. triloba and A. grandifora, are cultivated.
The former is the hardier and more widely distributed; the
latter has the larger and more showy flowers and occurs in southern
Issued February 1939
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Gould, H. P. The native papaw., book, February 1939; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc5983/m1/2/: accessed June 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.