Pawpaws are a sweet fruit eaten raw or baked. The wood has no commercial use, but the inner bark was woven into a fiber cloth by Native Americans, and pioneers used it for stringing fish.
Pawpaw extract is being studied as a possible cancer-fighting drug. There are many historical medicinal uses.
The fruit is eaten by numerous bird species and by squirrels, opossums, and raccoons. Sometimes these creatures find the pawpaws before human pawpaw hunters do, which is one reason many people are planting their own pawpaw trees!
Pawpaw is a member of a tropical family and has no close relatives in Missouri. In nature, associated with sweet gum, river birch, sycamore and roughleaf dogwood.