Pawpaw among trees to be planted in Hendersonville

from the Hendersonville Tree Board

HENDERSONVILLE – Fruit from the American Pawpaw tree was enjoyed by Native Americans and helped early European settlers survive. It’s sort of mango-meets-the-banana … with a little hint of melon, according to one reviewer of the fruit’s taste.

The pawpaw has quite a history. On NPR’s “Morning Edition,” Allison Aubrey reported on her research: Thomas Jefferson had pawpaws at Monticello. And when he was minister to France in 1786, he had pawpaw seeds shipped over to friends there. Lewis and Clark wrote in their journals that they were quite fond of the pawpaw. At one point during their expedition in 1806, they relied on pawpaws when other provisions ran low. And from Michigan to West Virginia, people have even named towns and lakes after the pawpaw.

The American Pawpaw, a native North American tree, is one of 52 trees to be planted along Bearcat Loop Parkway on Friday, Oct. 10, by the city of Hendersonville for a project coordinated by Hendersonville Tree Board. From U.S. 64 W. the trees will enhance the entryway to Hendersonville Elementary School and Hendersonville Middle School along the east side and the lower northwest side.

Students at Hendersonville Elementary will learn more about the American Pawpaw, the American Beech, the Bald Cypress, and the other trees being planted along the entryway, according to Principal Kerry Stewart. “Each class will choose a tree to ‘adopt’ and study,” she reported.

“The students will study the history of that tree and its uses in our country, the type of soil it prefers, how it will look at maturity, how long it takes to mature, its value to wildlife, and so forth. The students will present their research at a program on December 5. This is a great opportunity to truly connect young people to the trees around them and integrate academics.”

Nurseryman Wes Burlingame, a member of the Tree Board, and Landscape Architect Bruce Lowe have selected a variety of hardwoods, fruit trees, and ornamentals in the first of two plantings planned for the entryway. A second planting is scheduled for Fall 2015.

“We purposefully chose a wide variety of fruit, nut, and hardwood trees for this planting,” Burlingame said. “We will learn which of these trees thrive in an urban-forest environment so that the Tree Board can better replace trees in the city as time goes on.”

Callaway Crabapple, Redbud, Scarlet Oak, Serviceberry, Sourwood, Striped Maple, Virginia Fringetree, Persimmon, Carolina Silverbell, and White Oak are also on the list to be planted.

The project is funded by request through the Tree Board’s annual budget, which is supported by the Hendersonville City Council, according to Mac Brackett, Chair of the Tree Board. The objective is to provide low-maintenance landscaping that emphasizes multi-seasonal appeal and edible fruits and nuts.

Hendersonville Tree Board is commissioned to study, investigate, counsel, develop and/or update and administer a written plan for the care, preservation, pruning, planting, replanting, removal, or disposition of trees and shrubs in parks, along streets and in other public areas. The Tree Board educates the public as to the economic and aesthetic benefits of trees and shrubs to Hendersonville and its citizens. The board is composed of residents and landowners in the City of Hendersonville. Members are appointed by Hendersonville City Council. To learn more about Hendersonville Tree Board and its projects visit the webpage at

Volunteers are invited to assist with planting the trees on October 10. Phone Tree Board Chair Mac Brackett at 692-3026 to sign up.


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