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We bought a red paw paw yesterday and want to grow some more so kept the seeds to plant. There are some white and some black seeds. Can someone confirm the white are immature and can be discarded?

All the books I have read indicate there are three types of trees - male, female and bi-sexual, and that regardless of the type of tree you get seeds from the seeds will be a mixture of all three and the only way to tell is to wait for the plant to flower. As males don't produce fruit at that time you cut down the males (leaving one for eight females) and sometimes they will revert to female.

When asked to confirm a bi-sexual seedling, an ebay seller advised me:
Hi - there are a few different types of bi sexual paw paws- some fruit from close too the trunk and some yellows I have fruit from what looks like male flowers and I remember when I first saw mine doing that umpreen years ago I thought oh no it has ended up being a male-- but has the fruit in clusters - nice sweet ones- so ina ctual fact there are many different ones that grow and fruit different- it is also said by many that all bisexual are only red but this is not so- a lot I have I get from someone that grafts them-- which I have had on from time to time- but I do only have bi sexual and do not allow any one tobring others in in case somehow they do end up in the compost etc--- but it is true a small percent can end up being non bi aand female or male- I have heard this not seen it myself- usually the pink hue on young stems is a tell tale sign I believe

So can anyone confirm that bi-sexual trees tend to produce mainly bi-sexual seeds, in which case I should wait for my own bi-sexual paw paw and use those seeds...

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This is a vexed and confusing subject, Donna! My experience is that rather than being 'bi-sexual' implying both male and female flowers or flower parts, a lot of pawpaws are - er, there's a botanical term which I've forgotten - it indicates not so much 'self-fertile' as in peas but 'without the need for fertilization'. This latter is common in plants - there are many ways to produce seeds and plants have worked them all out over the centuries. A common without-the-need-for-fertilization plant is one of the Australian native violets - Viola betonicafolia which regularly produces viable seed without flowering. Anyway ... whatever the technical term, that's what my observations have lead me to believe about many pawpaw trees.

The black seeds are the fertile ones, the white immature as you surmised.

Really I would not stress like that eBay seller - I regularly put pawpaw seeds in the compost, we are not knee-deep in pawpaw seedlings! A few come up and quite often they are the strongest and even sometimes they grow somewhere appropriate. I've had very good results with self-seeded this and that.

I have grown plants from 'bisexual' pawpaws and got sometimes more 'bisexual' ones and sometimes male and female separately. My male tree fell over in the rain and both of my female trees have developing fruit ruling out any need for a male pawpaw. And yes, the males do produce some fruit, rather different looking but tasting just fine. Never tried the seeds from a male tree, though.

What is the redness on the stems signify?
Apparently bi-sexual...
This has been very interesting - i have just done the same - i have a pile of paw paw seeds which i am going to sow - and see what happens! i have had a few pop up in the compost but not as many compost seedlings as tomatoes and pumpkins :)
Hubby wants red paw paw anyway so we will be planting these ones - maybe in pots if I can find enough big ones. It will be interesting to see if any/ all have pick stems in case the bi-sexual theory works...

Compost seedlings for me are usually capsicum, tomato and pumpkin - they must be very hardy!
From what I've read, the fruits from a bi-sexual tree are more oblong or longish, but the fruits of a female tree are more roundish. I don't know how true this is, but the fruits that are forming on the bi-sexual tree I bought are more slender then the ones from a tree my mother planted from seeds. Trees from seeds seems to grow faster and fruit quicker, unfortunately, the fruits from this particular tree are not good eating... I hope the bought bisexual tree will produce better tasting fruits.

We've had a male tree fruiting during a really hot summer, they were small seedless fruits bearing on a very long stem which hangs down about 35 cm or so.... I did not taste them, but my mum said they were good. It only gave fruits during that really hot summer and not other years, so it's been chopped down. This is inline with what I read where male trees may gives fruit in hot weather.. some people have told us that you can change a male tree to female by driving an iron nail into the trunk of the tree, but we have never tried it..

I've also read that fruits from bi-sexual trees gives a much higher proportion of bi-sexual seeds then fruits from a female tree, which may or may not give any bi-sexual seeds. Again, no idea how true that is.. ... just interesting piece of information..
Taste sometimes is related to potash (potassium, K) and within reason, the more the merrier and the higher liklihood there is of plenty of flowers and great-tasting fruit. Banana skins are reputed to be high in Potassium but whether just using them would give the plant enough I don't know. I have used them on plants but there are other issues like water and other nutrients so I don't have a definite answer on that. I figure if Peter Cundall can use Potassium Sulphate out of a bag then so can I. I still think it is not 'organic' whatever that may really mean, but it's one nutrient which is tricky to supply in quantity unless you do it this way. I'm not discounting Biodynamics which is a soil-improvement method and at all times I prefer to improve the soil rather than add specific nutrients. There is not enough compost to go around here and I've resorted to buying in animal manures and a few other nutrients to tide the garden over. Even the two worm farms (the round ones) just don't produce enough castings for the general garden. Anyway ... there's often great differences in the taste and texture of different varieties within a species and it may well be that the variety you had planted just won't taste any better no matter what you do.

A bit gross to drive a nail into a poor un-suspecting male tree, eh? Gee if I were the tree I'd be sure to stick to my original decision to be the gender I want to be.
Paw paw trees LOVE lime. If you have any chunks of concrete, dig in around the root system. The best paw paw's grow near concrete paths, as they feed off the lime. Your red paw paw will be bi-sexual. When tree gets to height you want, sever the roots with a shovel about 1 and a half feet from trunk of tree (in a circular fashion). This stunts the growth. They do not like wet feet, but love humousy soil that is well drained.
HELP!!!! Finally opened the paw paw and IT HAD NO SEEDS!!! It also tasted *funny* - not very nice. It didn't smell right, more like it was almost off? We picked it when it was just starting to colour a little bit and left it to ripen on the bench, it was soft and completely orange but didn't smell ripe.

Any advice would be appreciated - I will add potash and hope that that makes the ones still ripening taste better...
Okay, trying for overkill here - have just added epsom salts, potash and lime and watered it in well... will see if the ones still on the tree are any better.
Give it another season Donna ... if the fruit are not worth eating then into the compost bin! I have noticed a huge difference in flavour of fruits depending on how they are fertilized (or not fertilized!). There are Paw Paws which have a leathery texture no matter what you do with them. Keep seeds of only the most succulent fruit from trees which are tough in your yard. It might take 10 seasons but it's worth it to select the best of what you can get hold of. Paw Paws while not liking wet feet still like lots of water as do Capsicums. Not very water-wise fruit unfortunately.
i never water mine AT ALL - the retaining basin is so marvellous, it's unreasonable! all that free pawpaw and banana for absolutely no input from me! all I do is pick them, cut off the suckers, and throw my garden junk in the hole

the recipe is in the resources section of my page, and there's also a photo album about it
You have magic fingers though! I will be planting some in our banana grove too... if I get seeds lol!


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