What does my grandfather have in common with North America’s only tropical tree?

Roots deep in the Appalachian earth.

I learned about pawpaw trees when I moved to West Virginia in 2016. One dry, fall day the Potomac was so shallow I could shuffle over rocks and through knee-deep water from the Mountain State to the Free State and back again. That’s when I tasted pawpaw fruit for the first time. The flavor was sweet and creamy. Tropical, yet somehow Appalachian, like the first Floridian born in a long line of mountaineer ancestors.

A botanist might use any of the…

Alison Zak

Writing about human relationships with nature and coexistence with wildlife from an ‘almost’ anthropological perspective

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