Anyone know where Persimmons/PawPaws are growing wild in NJ?

njbiologyMay 11, 2008


Does anyone know where American Persimmons (Diospyros virginiana) and PawPaw (Asimina triloba) are growing wild in New Jersey? Or if someone has an American Persimmon tree of their own that I can look at to see its growth habit in real-life.

[In central/north New Jersey or in NY state near north Jersey.]



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I have several persimmons here which are probably wild. I also have fruiting pawpaws I grew from seed.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2008 at 2:54PM
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I'd be interested in PawPaws too. I'd like to see if they'll grow in my zone 5/6 area, and finding something wild or free would be nice.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2008 at 7:15PM
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bonechickchris(7A/6B NJ 08731)

Hey Steve, I live in Forked River and have been told that several trees in my yard are wild persimmon trees. The lady next door to me said they would grow wild all around here since she was a little girl, and she is 89 years old now. Now, me knowing only of persimmon trees that you see in tree catalogs that are self pollinating, I am not too familar with my trees, as my neighbor (who is one of the town historians/gardeners) told me that these trees need a female and male tree to produce persimmons, but now I only have males in my yard? I hope that helps. I can take pics of them for you or you are welcome to take a look. There is also a park around here that my neighbor says they still fruit. Christy

    Bookmark   May 15, 2008 at 2:26PM
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I have volunteer seedlings if anyone wants to dig them.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2008 at 9:03PM
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There are quite a few trees growing at Rancocas Nature Center, which is part of Rancocas State Park in Westampton, NJ (Burlington County).

    Bookmark   October 19, 2008 at 9:27AM
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I don't believe New Jersey quite makes it into the PawPaws range. This is the perfect time of year to look for Persimmons - the fruit is present. They tend to grow in hedgerows and open areas like Sassafrass and often the two are growing together.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2008 at 4:18PM
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Hey there Steve,

I realize this is an old thread, but I am interested in what you ended up finding in the wild in New Jersey. As the previous responses show, finding the persimmon was probably relatively easy. I was just back there and took some hardwood cuttings and bareroot specimens from a number of plants, including persimmon. But what I really wanted was pawpaw...

According to the USDA Plants Database, the persimmon occurs in all but a couple northern counties in NJ, but the pawpaw only occurs in the western counties, and is endangered in NJ. Wardda's assumption that the pawpaw's range doesn't include NJ may not be true, since every source I have seen shows this species as occuring in your state, albeit not as a common member of the vegetation. Again, if you look at the USDA Plants site the pawpaw range mape even includes some southern and western counties of New York State. These range maps usually show the bare minimum of occurrences, since they are based mostly on herbarium specimens and sightings in the scientific literature.

One location (albeit not too current) for pawpaw in the area that I was able to track down on the web was for southern Staten Island. Yes, an apparently healthy wild grove of pawpaw was documented there by a plant society based in (if I remember correctly) Ulster County, NY. Sorry that I don't have the URL, but you should be able to track it down on google if you're still interested.

Hope this was in some way helpful...

    Bookmark   January 16, 2009 at 10:55AM
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rikster(z6b NJ)

There is a whole grove of paw paws growing in mount holly off of grant street by the "gardens". I'm sure they will all be wiped out in the redevelopment of the area.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2009 at 11:53PM
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I'll have small pawpaws and persimmons at the plant swap on May 3rd.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2009 at 4:28PM
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It's been a lot of time, but more so: a lot of hiking and research, since my initial posting.

Paw paw (Asimina triloba) can be found (indigenous):

Salem County (i.e. Parvin State Park)
Glouster County
Somerset/Hunterdon County (i.e. Sourland Mountain)
Hunterdon County (Tetertown Ravine)
Monmouth County (cf: DEP)
Mercer County (Trenton Marsh)

Middlesex County (Cranbury - cultivated?)
Staten Island (non-indigenous; escaped from cultivation)
NY/Ulster County (near New Palz; likely result of cultivation)
Passaic County (Ringwood State Park; result of cultivation)

As for common persimmon, northern stands are:
Bergen County (Franklin Lakes; Ridgefield)
Sussex County (Swartswood/Stillwater; Fredon; Hamburg; Andover JCT.)
Warren County (White Lake)
Essex County (West Orange; Chatham)
Somerset & Middlesex County (many locations)
Hunterdon (several locations)
Central and South Jersey (most of the species presence is here)
Long Island and New York City & vicinity

I'd like to find more stands of it in: Bergen Co.; Passaic Co.; Warren Co.; Essex Co.; Sussex Co.; and a little more in places like Somerset Co., etc.

Please let me know of any findings for the northern portion of New Jersey.

Does anyone know if there are paw paw trees in Burlington County, other then the above mentioned location off of Grant Street?

    Bookmark   September 17, 2010 at 11:16PM
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forgot, a number of persimmon stands in Staten Island, also.

Since common persimmon is found in a number of locations in Sussex Co. (I was disappointed not to find it along the Delaware River, however), I wonder if it will ever be found in Orange or Rockland Counties, New York (Southern Hudson Valley)..

There is a large stand in the center of Harriman State Park, Stony Point, Rockland County, NY - but it's the result of cultivation.

(I also left out: any Morris County locations?)

    Bookmark   September 17, 2010 at 11:22PM
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Last weekend I (twice) determined by personally visiting the Grant St. "Gardens" area in Mt. Holly that there are NO Paw Paws present. There is no new construction, so I doubt they were cut down, but I walked all up and down the street and into the wooded areas. The closest thing I found were groves of a type of magnolia with huge leaves, shaped like Paw Paw leaves, but over twice as large, with a different growing habit and branch arrangement. So I think rikster was mistaken on that point.

I did however go visit the allegedly largest Paw Paw in NJ up in Cranbury. Alas the last fruit had fallen and been eaten by squirrels. All that was left were some piles of seeds, which took a bunch of.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2011 at 9:04PM
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Update: I visited the Rancocas Nature Center, which is also close to me, assuming what cdubrul said was growing there was paw-paws. Now I know what was meant was persimmons, though coincidentally they DO have a paw paw tree growing behind the building. One guy there said someone comes around each year giving away his paw paw fruit, and he gave them that tree years ago. It flowers but has yet to fruit. I think I saw a small one in a pot...

Now as for the persimmons, I hiked around and slowly realized how many persimmon trees there were, many very small. But ONLY ONE had any fruit on them! I was able to reach only a dozen or so, and tasted a few. Very tasty - seems a more concentrated flavor than those sold in stores. I also learned this weekend that an uncle of mine (who passed away) has a large tree in his back yard in Malaga. I checked it out - it was indeed big, but had not one fruit on it. Only a single shriveled fruit on the ground...

    Bookmark   October 9, 2011 at 7:21PM
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I know this is an old thread, but there are wild paw-paws growing off rt 130 in Hamilton by the huge shopping center. As you go around the jug-handle to get into the shopping center (first entrance going south), look to your left after the hotel. There is a small grove of them there.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 5:27PM
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The pawpaws Soulfire referred to a a relic of Dilatush Nursery (Tom Dilatush).

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 11:05PM
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Seedling persimmon grove in Van Nest Park, West Windsor, Mercer Cty. NJ. Also, isolated trees on D&R Canal towpath, just S of Washington Rd., Princeton, Mercer Cty.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 3:23PM
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Adding to this long discussion, re. pawpaw in NJ, there are I believe only two native occurrences (it's S1 in NJ, i.e. fewer than five native occurrences) but it's been planted in a lot of places and is starting to show up as an escape in the wild. The tree at the Rancocas Nature Center, mentioned above, was planted about 20 years ago from seed collected at Elk Neck State Park in Maryland. The clone on Staten Island, also mentioned above, was also planted. Re. persimmon, it's common in South Jersey outside of the Pine Barrens. It's along the entrance drive to Forsythe NWR (Brigantine). Lots of it around Cape May Point. In West Deptford, there's a nice big prolific tree on the north side of Riverwinds Drive, opposite the Riverwind clubhouse. Only female trees produce fruit. The species can spread vegetatively, so you can find small groves that are all one sex, in fact, all one individual.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 8:00AM
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