Both the papaya and the papaw are sometimes referred to as pawpaw, which is thoroughly confusing because they're entirely different fruits. The papaw is a North American native that's a member of the cherimoya family. It can range from 2 to 6 inches long and looks like a fat, dark-brown banana. The aromatic flesh is pale yellow and peppered with a profusion of seeds. It has a custardlike texture and a sweet flavor reminiscent of bananas and pears. Papaws are seldom cultivated and are rarely found in markets.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.