Spring Blooms in the Pawpaw Orchard

— Written By

Pawpaws (Asimina triloba) are native to 26 states in the eastern U.S. and are found along riverbanks and woodland floodplains in the wild. Our largest native fruit has a creamy texture and tropical flavor and has been enjoyed in jams, ice cream, beer, and many other dishes!

Grower Wynn Dinnsen grows over 250 pawpaw trees and evaluates them for flavor and favorable seed-to-pulp ratio at Full of Life Farms outside of Pittsboro. Wynn sells pawpaw fruit and pulp to several local restaurants and breweries.

The pawpaw tree blooms in early spring before the trees have leafed out. Flies are the primary pollinators of pawpaw blooms so many growers will place dead fish or even roadkill in the orchards during bloom to lure flies attracted to the stench.

The photos below were taken the week April 6-8, right after a hard freeze on the morning of April 6.

Click here to view photos of the paw paw harvest from Chatham County Cooperative Extension’s 2014 Farm Show & Tell

Paw paw orchard in bloom in early April. Photo by Debbie Roos.

Pawpaw orchard in bloom in early April. Pawpaw is our largest native fruit. Photo by Debbie Roos.

The dark-colored paw paw blooms are not as showy as those of other many of the non-native fruit trees. Photo by Debbie Roos.

The dark-colored pawpaw blooms are not as showy as those of many of the non-native fruit trees. Photo by Debbie Roos.

Paw paw flower. Photo by Debbie Roos.

Pawpaw flowers are self-incompatible, so you need more than one tree for cross pollination. Photo by Debbie Roos.

Paw paw blooms not fully open. Photo by Debbie Roos.

These pawpaw blooms are still expanding. Photo by Debbie Roos.

Pollinating fly on a paw paw bloom. Photo by Debbie Roos.

Pollinating fly on a pawpaw bloom. Photo by Debbie Roos.

Wynn hangs dead fish in his pollinator orchard during bloom to help attract pollinators. The primary pollinators of paw paw are flies and beetles which are attracted to fetid smells. Some growers hang road kill! Photo by Debbie Roos.

Wynn hangs dead fish in his pawpaw orchard during bloom to help attract pollinators. The primary pollinators of pawpaw are flies and beetles which are attracted to fetid smells. Some growers hang roadkill! Photo by Debbie Roos.

Click here to view photos of the paw paw harvest from Chatham County Cooperative Extension’s 2014 Farm Show & Tell

Want to grow your own pawpaw fruit? Country Farm & Home in Pittsboro will be selling Wynn Dinnsen’s pawpaw trees in late summer-fall in time for fall planting.

For more information about pawpaw production: