Sunday, May 4, 2014
These are the mysterious brown red flowers of the pawpaw tree - Asimina triloba. The common pawpaw is actually quite common out here, hence the name. The trees are slender and small and they're an understory tree, like redbuds and dogwoods that just don't get very big. The leaves turn a clear yellow in the fall.
Pawpaws are the only thing that zebra swallowtail Protographium marcellus butterflies eat.
I have seen small, immature fruit on the trees before, but never a ripe one - probably because they're hard to see under the leaves unless you're right under the tree and because the racoons get them as soon as they are remotely palatable. Rumor has it that they are very banana-like in flavor, but they should be eaten as ripe as possible.