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The pawpaw is the only temperate member of the Annonaceae family. The highly aromatic, climacteric fruit (meaning it can ripen off the tree) has a ripe taste that resembles a creamy mixture of banana, mango, and pineapple It is a small, deciduous tree that may attain 5 to 10 m in height. In the forest understorey, trees often exist in clumps or thickets. This may result from root suckering or seedlings developing from fruits that dropped to the ground from an original seedling tree. In sunny locations, trees typically assume a pyramidal habit, straight trunk and lush, dark green, long, drooping leaves that turn gold and brown in colour during the fall. Flowers emerge before leaves in mid spring. The blossoms occur singly on previous year's wood and may reach up to 5 cm in diameter. Flowers are strongly protogynous, self-incompatible and require cross pollination although some trees may be self-compatible it is a good idea to plant two or more trees for cross pollination. Fruits are typically 3 to 15 cm long, 3 to 10 cm wide and weigh from 200 to 400 g. They may be borne singly or in clusters which resemble the "hands" of a banana plant (Musa spp.). Shelf-life of a tree-ripened fruit stored at room temperature is 2 to 3 days. With refrigeration, fruit can be held up to 3 weeks while maintaining good eating quality. Within the fruit, there are two rows of large, brown, bean shaped, laterally compressed seeds that may be up to 3 cm long.