A small deciduous tree native to the eastern United States and Canada, producing a large, yellowish-green to brown fruit. Pawpaw belongs to the genus Asimina in the same plant family (the Annonaceae) as the custard-apple, cherimoya, sweetsop, ylang-ylang, and soursop.
The pawpaw is a patch-forming (clonal) understory tree found in well-drained, deep, fertile bottom-land and hilly upland habitat, with large, simple leaves. Pawpaw fruits are the largest edible fruit indigenous to the United States (not counting gourds, which are typically considered vegetables rather than fruit for culinary purposes, although in botany they are classified as a fruit).
Pawpaw fruits have a sweet, custard-ish flavor somewhat similar to a banana, mango, and cantaloupe, and are commonly eaten raw, but are also used to make ice cream and baked desserts.
Pawpaws grow in the forest understory beneath much larger trees. Pawpaws are sky high in vitamin C, magnesium, iron, copper, and manganese. They are also a good source of potassium and several essential amino acids, and they also contain significant amounts of riboflavin, niacin, calcium, phosphorus, and zinc.