Mountain Paw Paw
Photos by David Hutton
Common name: Paw Paw
Botanical name: Carica pubescens
Quick growing round headed small tree to 2-3 metres. Large distinguished leaves up to 60cm across and deeply lobed. The Mountain Paw Paw is relatively hardy and will withstand light frost. In marginal climates it may defoliate in winter and regrow as long as frosts are not hard enought to damage the stems.
Flowers are formed on the main stem from spring through autumn. Fruit develops over several months and will ripen when it gets about 10-12 cm in length. As the fruit ripens it can fill the garden with a fruity aroma in sheltered places.
Highly ornamental as a sub-tropical planting around the courtyard where the aroma from the fruit can be appreciated.
Fresh or cooked. May be used as a meat tenderiser.
Plant in spring in well-drained soil. Protected from wind and frost while young. Mulch well as roots are shallow.
Fruit is formed on new growth. Allow one side shoot, low down, to grow each year as a new main shoot and cut last seasons one off as soon as it has fruited to prevent the plant getting too tall. Feed with high phosphorus NPK fertiliser in spring and summer.
Harvest when fruit turns yellow.
Male and female flowers may be produced on the same plant or separate plants. A plant may vary from male to female during the year. Therefore, to ensure pollination more than one plant is needed.