In the past 20 years, a little-known fruit called the pawpaw has experienced a resurgence, with many Ohioans growing, selling and eating their own pawpaws. The pawpaw (Asimina triloba
) is North America's largest native tree fruit and its trees are found throughout all of Ohio. According to fossil records, the papaw’s forebears were established in North America millions of years before the arrival of humans. American Indians extensively used the pawpaw and introduced it to European explorers. The pawpaw has more protein than most other fruits, with a flavor somewhat similar to both banana and mango, which varies depending on cultivar. An annual festival in Athens County is devoted to the pawpaw, which was named the state native fruit in 2009.