Paw Paws and Papayas
Or, the usefulness of scientific names.
Bells commented, "Oh, I'm confused. That doesn't look anything like the paw paw I know - well not much like it. And a custard apple is a big, misshapen pale lumpy thing with a texture like custard."
That would be because "paw paw" is one of the names for the papaya, Carica papaya, a native of South America, and a plant which definitely does not grow in Michigan.
Bells' paw paw has pale, five-petalled flowers,
deeply cut palmate leaves,
and a palm-like growth habit.
The fruit varies considerably by cultivar.
The plant I call a paw paw is a small cold-hardy tree, related to species like the custard apple, Annona reticulata,
the soursop, Annona muricata,
and the cherimoya, Annona cherimola.
The Annona species all have simple oval leaves
and big brown seeds that closely resemble paw paw (the Asimina species) seeds.
Same common name, entirely different plants.