|Pawpaw flowers in full bloom - REK|
|Pawpaw flowers, fresh, dead and frost damaged - REK|
Like other species producing dark brown to purple flowers, they rely on a smell of rotting flesh to attract pollinators, not butterflies but flies and other species attracted to the odor of death.* Their flowers meanwhile are pollinated in a hit and miss fashion by flies, beetles and other species. In some limited attempts to grow pawpaw commercially, growers actually hang dead fish and other lures to attract these morbid pollinators to their trees.
|Bud ready to flower|
|Fresh flower and small new flower bud - REK|
The early blooming pawpaw has thus found a way with dealing with these setbacks by spreading its flower buds over more than a month. While observing this budding over time, we haven't noticed whether it ends when the frosts stop. It is possible that this continuing flower bud propagation is the plant's response to frost damage.
*Further information on Pawpaw odors is in this paper.
Previous pawpaw blogs have covered Zebra Swallowtail eggs, the butterfly's premature delivery and the Asimina webworm moth that lives curled up in pawpaw leaves.