It's often called the Indiana Banana, the Paw Paw tree is a native fruit tree with a rich history dating back hundreds of years. It was a favorite food for Native Americans and early settlers. The tree grows best as an understory planting in the forest and needs another as a pollinator. It grows to about 20 feet and the leaves turn yellow in the fall. Paw Paws bloom early in the year with dark purple flowers and one of the problems is getting those flowers pollinated so early. The blooms are pollinated by flies and there's a trick to attracting the flies to the flowers....
...the tree. Hang some raw meat in the branches, it's said that Native Americans would tie a dead squirrel to the tree to help pollination.As it ages in the tree the flies will find the flowers.
The fruit is about six inches long and three wide. Inside ripe paw paws are filled with a sweet creamy custard, I love the fruit cold. The seeds are large and it's not the easiest fruit to eat, but the trouble is well worth it. Probably the only way to find a tree is a good commercial nursery like Miller's, that's where I got mine. This tree sends out suckers like crazy and I give away those suckers, but they don't transplant too well. I usually give four plants, hoping two make it.
This is a great time to plant most trees, including fruit trees. Cooler temperatures promote root growth instead of top growth so the plant gets established. Water any fall plantings all the way until the ground freezes hard. It's important that new plantings can store the water they need to get them through the harsh winter.
Every September there's a paw paw festival in Ohio to celebrate the little known fruit.