Bee Better gardeners know the value of planting, Pawpaw, Asimina triloba. The leaves of the Pawpaw plant is the only host plant for the Zebra Swallowtail butterfly, Eurytides marcellus.
The fruit is edible and tasty. This alone is reason enough to grow Pawpaw, but in a Bee Better garden, we want to provide as many host plants as possible for the butterflies in our range, and the Pawpaw is a valuable host plant.
In planting Pawpaw, you can aid in fully sustaining the Zebra Swallowtail butterfly in your Bee Better garden. Remember, we need host plants in our gardens in addition to nectar-rich butterfly plants. Otherwise, we will only have visitors, and not residents.
ZEBRA SWALLOWTAIL BUTTERFLY
Name: Asimina triloba
Zones: 5 to 9
Size: 15 – 30 feet tall and wide
Conditions: Full sun to part shade, medium water, yet tolerates drought
Native to eastern U.S., easily grown from seed, and produces an edible fruit!
NOTE OF CAUTION: Pawpaw seeds taken high doses can be toxic. When ripe, the fruit of the pawpaw plant is edible fresh or cooked, but touching the skin of the fruit can cause allergic reactions in sensitive people, and ingesting unripe fruit can cause vomiting.
Note from Director: While we are in the flight range of the zebra swallowtail, we have not seen them in the Bee Better Raleigh, NC Demonstration garden.