The papaw is another fruit I knew well as a child. It is sometimes

called custard-apple because the flesh resembles soft custard. As I

write I can almost taste the, to me, sickish sweetness of the fruit and

feel the large, smooth, flat seeds in my mouth. In shape the papaw

somewhat resembles the banana, the texture of the skin is the same, but

the surface of the papaw is smoothly rounded and it is shorter and

thicker t
an the banana, being usually from three to five inches long.

It ripens in September and October. The tree is small, often a shrub,

and it grows wild no farther north than western New York.

There are some cultivated papaw-trees on Long Island, but I do not think

they bear fruit. Certainly none that I have seen have ever fruited. You

will find the tree as far south as Florida and Texas, through the Middle

States and west to Michigan and Kansas. It flourishes in the bottom

lands of the Mississippi Valley and seeks the shade of the forests. The

bark is dark brown with gray blotches; the leaves are large, being from

two to twelve inches long and four inches wide. They are oval, pointed

at the tip and narrowed at the base. When matured they are smooth, dark

green on the upper side and paler beneath. At first the flower is as

green as the leaves, but finally turns a deep red-purple. It grows close

to the branch and is solitary.