I Need Pawpaw Pollen, Please!

kingbrianiMarch 1, 2012

Yep, you read right. I need pawpaw pollen! First, though, let me go back a few years to explain what has led to this strange request.

It all started years ago, with a young boy researching edible gardening on the internet. An interesting fruit with a funny name kept popping up in his searches and he soon became obsessed with the idea of growing one. Well, that boy was me and the fruit was the pawpaw. Thus begins the story leading eventually to my current dilemma.

In the interest of time (and your sanities), I'll try to quickly outline the rest of the story. So there I was, young and eager to grow and taste this unusual fruit, but as a student living in apartments, I had no place to plant the trees. So I waited a few years, graduated, got a job, and bought a house. So I got on the internet, and decided to go with two varieties widely agreed to be among the best, Susquehanna and Shenendoah. Only, these Peterson varieties were only grown by the man himself and the waiting list was a year long! So I placed my order and patiently waited a year. Received the pawpaws the next spring, stuck them in the ground... and waited a few more years. Finally, last spring the bare branches developed these funny little round buds, which to my great pleasure turned into flowers! Finally, I would have fruit! So in my excitement I mixed up a fertilizer solution in order to help the trees maximize fruit set. Only, I think I may have overdone it and the Shenandoah ended up dying before it could polinate the other tree. The good news is that the rootstock sprouted back up and in the year since, has nearly grown to the height of the other tree. But it has no fruit buds and my Susquehanna is preparing for another fruitless year.

That is, unless some kind soul could collect a pollen-coated anther or two off their pawpaw this spring and give it to me. I can pay for shipping if needed, or if you are in the Triangle area of North Carolina, I can pick it up in person.

Thanks in advance!

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m_taggart(7b)

I just bought 2 pawpaws yesterday. They're about 3 feet tall so I'm not sure if they will flower this year. You'd know better than I, how old/large must they be before they flower?

If they do, I'd be happy to give you an anther. I live in Cary.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2012 at 9:29AM
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kingbriani

Thanks for the offer, but I don't think you will see flowers this year. Mine were 3 years old (and appoximately 2-3' tall when I planted them and it was the third year they were in the ground when they flowered. You can look at the plants and easily tell the flower buds from the leaf buds though. The flower buds are round while the leaf buds are long and pointed. My flower buds are getting bigger every day now and some of them are even starting to open.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2012 at 1:47PM
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nativeplanter(8a)

If you go for a walk in the woods when your pawpaw is blooming, you will likely find some wild pawpaws that are blooming as well. Great excuse to go for a walk!

    Bookmark   March 2, 2012 at 3:43PM
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kingbriani

nativeplanter, I've been searching the woods around here for the last several years, and still haven't found any pawpaws! If anyone in the area knows where I could find a wild patch, I'd be happy to hear it. Some of the blooms on my Susquehanna are getting closer to opening!

    Bookmark   March 7, 2012 at 6:54PM
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m_taggart(7b)

You might consider calling around to some of the local arboretums to ask if they have any pawpaws. Or, try posting in the lawn and garden section of craigslist.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2012 at 12:04PM
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kingbriani

I contacted a local plant expert today and got a good lead on an area with a high population on the northern end of the Jordan public game lands. I'll be scouting the area this weekend.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2012 at 5:44PM
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nativeplanter(8a)

Good luck! I'll cross my paws for you!

    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 4:52PM
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kingbriani

I finally had a chance to go check out that site today and wow! That guy knew what he was talking about. There were literally hundreds of pawpaws. They were everywhere. This is a great time of year to look for them too, since the flowers hanging on bare branches is very distinctive. By looking up, you could quickly pick out a pawpaw by the silhouette of flowers against the sky. That all the other trees are still bare really helps. Anyway, the flowers on all of the trees at the site I went to are in various stages of maturity, but none are pollen bearing, yet. That's ok though, since the flowers on my pawpaw tree haven't opened yet. Does anyone know how long pawpaw pollen will be viable once harvested? And whether it will keep longer in the refrigerator? Here's a picture of one of the bigger trees I found, sitting on the banks of a creek where it had a pretty good exposure to the sky. I think that helped it grow larger, and the flowers mature earlier than most of the other trees I found.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 9:23PM
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m_taggart(7b)

Any way you could mark the approximate location on google maps and link it? I would love to take a walk there and check them out. I just planted a few, but have never seen any full grown.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2012 at 1:17PM
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kingbriani

I don't know if I can link to it, but it is easy to find. There is a city park and nature trail at Sherwood Githens Middle School. That nature trail is where they are.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2012 at 2:50PM
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kingbriani

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 12:35AM
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Edymnion(7a)

Grats.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2012 at 12:06PM
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chervil2(z5 MA)

These photos are great and I hope someday to see pawpaws growing in the wild. I have several mature trees in my yard. I started out with a pair in 1996 and one died in 2000. My lone pawpaw was able to self-pollinate for several years until the newer trees matured. I had reduced fruit production this year due to a drought and a scarcity of insect pollinators. I learned that I should put an attractant like rotten meat in the middle of my pawpaw grove to attract flies that will visit the flowers, too.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 7:47PM
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