Peggi got an email the other day from an Associate Professor of Geography at SUNY Geneseo. His letter started with “I see that you have observed pawpaw.” Peggi uses the iNaturalist app to identify trees we come across on our walks and he does too so he was able to contact Peggi through the app. He said he had recently published a paper on the distribution of pawpaw and hoped to compare our location with an existing database he has on pawpaw in Western NY.
In his paper he says even though Pawpaw is native to our area it is quite rare in NYS—earning it a threatened-species designation. He says, “Pawpaws produce the largest edible fruit of all native tree species in the United States—each custardy fruit can weigh up to a pound.” The exotic-tasting fruit is described as a mix of banana and mango flavors with a hint of pineapple.
We had forgotten where it was in the park so we followed the coordinates and found it this morning. We saw at least thirty small Pawpaw trees (along with some wild strawberries) growing below the big one. We re-identified it in the app and Peggi sent new pictures to the professor.