image catesbyrs vol285
Image number: RS.18829
Credit: ©The Royal Society

American pawpaw




Mark Catesby (1683-1749, British), Naturalist

Object type

Library reference





Content object

   > plant
      > fruit


Botanical study of a branch from the American pawpaw tree, Asimina triloba, showing its leaves, white flowers and a cluster of fruit, and below a single seed.

Written in the associated description: ‘In March when the Leaves begin to sprout, its Blossoms appear, consisting each of six greenish white Petals. The Fruit grows in Clusters of three, and sometimes four together; they are at first green, and when ripe yellow, covered with a thin smooth Skin, which contains a yellow Pulp, of a sweet luscious Taste’.

Plate 85 from volume II of Mark Catesby’s The natural history of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands (London, 1731).

Mark Catesby (1683-1749), British naturalist was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1733. Travelling under the auspices of the Royal Society, Catesby recorded the earliest western scientific descriptions of the flora and fauna of the ‘New World’. He was the first naturalist to use folio-sized colour plates in a natural history book, and etched the copper plates himself before hand-colouring each individual print with watercolours.

Associated place

<The World>
   > North America
      > United States
<The World>
   > North America
      > Bahamas