Pawpaw – Celebration
Genus: Asimina – Family: Annonaceae
Pawpaw reminds us to celebrate with our friends, family and loved ones. This is a time of sharing our natural gifts with those closest to us where we can be ourselves and enjoy the sweetness of life.
Finding a pawpaw tree is always a cause for celebration because it contains an unexpected and exotic treasure that we can share with others. The pawpaw tree, Asimina trilobais native to eastern North America. The pawpaw is the largest edible fruit indigenous to the North American continent. Pawpaws have been growing wild for at least the past 10,000 years in 26 states plus Ontario, Canada.
Another reason to celebrate pawpaw is that it tastes like tropical custard, flavored with banana, mango and melon. The name “pawpaw” happened because it was confused with papaya, Carica papaya, also called pawpaw. The two are not related.
The earliest historical record of pawpaw dates to 1541 when the Spanish deSoto expedition discovered Native Americans growing pawpaws east of the Mississippi. In 1763, the Algonquian people introduced French naturalist, Michel Adanson, to pawpaw. The genus name Asimina is based on the Algonquian name “assimin.”
Chilled pawpaw was one of George Washington’s favorite desserts and Thomas Jefferson had them planted at his home in Monticello. Lewis and Clark also ate them regularly.
Even with these adventurous people celebrating the wonderment of pawpaw it never caught on as a household fruit. Pawpaws have remained elusive as they quietly grow in the backroads and along riverbanks. Those who are fortunate enough to discover a pawpaw in the wild during late September or early October are treated to a delicious surprise straight from the tree.
The American pawpaw is also known as the “poor man’s banana” which speaks to the understated yet exceptional goodness of this fruit. The pawpaw tree is beginning to be cultivated for its fruit and may eventually show up in our grocery stores. But for now, if we want to experience this hidden treat, we’ll have to go out in hopes of discovering one in the wild.
Message: The spirit of the pawpaw tree encourages us to celebrate the everyday discoveries in our life and to enjoy the fruits of our labor. This signals a time of happiness and joy as new discoveries bring unexpected abundance. This is a time of successful ventures shared with friends and colleagues.
Challenge: Feeling lethargic and apathetic about exploring or trying new things or ideas. Being stuck in a rut of your making.
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