2008 Theodore Klein Plant Award Winner

Asimina triloba – Paw Paw is a Kentucky native known for its custardy fruit. The banana-like berry fruit is full of seeds so extracting the edible fruit can be difficult. The plant is found all across Kentucky as a small tree. It has been observed in west Kentucky areas north of Lake Barkley as a single trunk small tree that grows in colonies of plants in wet drainage areas. The colonies develop because of the Paw Paw's habit of suckering from the roots. It is equally at home in moist environments and can be found in some landscapes as a multitrunk tree. At the UKREC, Princeton, it is planted in the landscape for it's upright pyramidal habit and dark Asimina triloba – Paw Pawgreen foliage. It was planted in the first place to enhance the butterfly population in the UKREC Botnaic Garden landscape; it is excellent food for the larvae of butterflies. The flowers are quite attractive but one has to look for them as they are on the inside of the plant and are not easily seen without gettting up close and moving the leaves blocking the view of the purple-brown flowers drooping down from the branches. Fall color is variable from a green-yellow to a bright yellow. Kentucky State University's Paw Paw program is one of the leading Paw Paw research programs in the world run by Dr. Kirk Pomper who has collected most of the surprisingly many cultivars of Paw Paw almost all of which have been selected for their superior fruiting characteristics.