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  • Author or Editor: Cynthia L.H. Finneseth x
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The North American pawpaw [Asimina triloba (L.) Dunal], a temperate member of the Annonaceae, is a deciduous woody tree with ornamental value and has merit as a fruit crop. Anatomical studies of pawpaw seed revealed a small, linear embryo that does not change in length during cold or warm stratification. Radicle and cotyledon growth from planting until radicle protrusion was concurrent and at about the same rate. Cotyledons grew through a specialized channel of cells extending above the cotyledon tips, but never emerged from the seed. The extended period of time required for the development of the cotyledons delayed seedling emergence more than 50 days. The cotyledons appear to be haustorial and translocate storage material from the endosperm to the growing embryo. At the time of epicotyl elongation, the radicle and developing root system were well developed and comprised 81 % of the seedling biomass. Seedling development could be divided into four distinct stages, including radicle protrusion, hypocotyl emergence, epicotyl elongation, and seedcoat abscission.

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Pawpaw (Asimina triloba) is an under-exploited small tree with commercial potential as a fruit crop, ornamental tree, and source of secondary products with insecticidal and medicinal properties. It is most often propagated from seeds that are recalcitrant and must be stored moist at a chilling temperature. Seeds display combinational (morphophysiological) dormancy. Endogenous, physiological dormancy is broken by about 100 days of chilling stratification followed by a period of warm moist conditions where the small embryo develops prior to seedling emergence about 45 days after the warm period begins. Pawpaw cultivars with superior fruit characteristics are propagated by grafting onto seedling understocks. The most common practice is chip budding. Other methods of clonal propagation have proven problematic. Pawpaw can be propagated from cuttings, but only in very young seedling stock plants. Micropropagation from mature sources is not yet possible, but shoot proliferation has been accomplished from seedling explants and explants rejuvenated by induction of shoots from root cuttings of mature plants. However, rooting of microcuttings and subsequent acclimatization has not been successful.

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