Location: 2m south of post #1
Pawpaw is a little-known native plant in Ontario, often considered only as a tropical fruit. A recent article by Samantha Edwards in the Globe & Mail (“Hidden Fruit”, Sat 14 October 2023) explains that serious cultivation as a food crop was brought to Southern Ontario by the Hauden-o-Saunee tribe migrating from what is now the United States. Following their displacement by European settlers, the plant was no longer seen as a food source and ignored.
The fruit is about the same shape and size as pear, enclosing several large seeds. The orange flesh is slightly stringy, with a strong sweet and fruity flavour – sort of mix of banana, pineapple and melon.
A pair of seedlings were planted three years ago by Matt Canaran, in a location with a mix of sun and shade. The trees are expected to take between 5 and 10 years before the first fruit appears.
One of the seedlings has since died, but the other is coming along, now 2 feet tall on its way to becoming a bushy tree 2-3 metres tall.
According to the newspaper article, they are “naturally pest-repellant, mildew-resistant, thrive in partial shade and don’t require much pruning”. Being a plant native to this area, they support local species of bees and butterflies too.
To have fruit it will need another one – and here’s the challenge – does it need a male, or a female – or does it matter?!
OTHER PLANTS NEARBY
The path to the electrical boxes on the east wall of the church building is lined with colourful Black-Eyed Susans. The large shrub to the south of the Pawpaw is a grey dogwood.