While most people think of Texas as having subtropical fruit trees like grapefruit and orange, the state's native fruit trees are not subtropical. Native Texas fruit trees offer a blend of common and exotic fruits. All of the trees are drought- and heat-tolerant and are suited to a wide range of soils. Many offer attractive foliage and unusual fruit.
Texas has two native types of crabapple: southern and western (also called Iowa, narrowleaf or prairie crabapple). The southern is much rarer than the western. Western crabapple trees (Malus ioensis) produce extremely tart fruits that can be cooked into jellies or jams. The trees can reach 30 feet in height and produce colorful spring flowers. The crabapples range in color from green to yellow.
The red mulberry (Morus rubra) develops red fruit that can stain clothing, sidewalks and porches when it drops. The fruit looks like a blackberry but tastes earthier. Mulberry trees can reach a height of 50 feet and a width of 25 to 35 feet. The trees are not drought-tolerant and prefer a well-draining soil.
Pawpaw trees (Asimina triloba) produce banana-shaped berries that may reach 6 inches in length. Also called custard apple or wild banana, the pawpaw turns black and grows soft when ripe. These trees may reach up to 30 feet in height and have brown or maroon flowers in the spring. The tree's large leaves can reach 6 inches wide by 12 inches long and are ovoid. Native to Texas and other southern states, pawpaws prefer moist boggy soils near riverbanks.
Persimmon trees (Diospyros virginiana) are native to east and central Texas. The trees produce fruit in the late fall; once the foliage drops in autumn, the fruit ripens to orange. Native persimmons are inedible and astringent until they turn soft and mushy. The trees average 35 to 40 feet in height, though they can grow taller in the wild. Persimmon trees feature yellow-green or creamy green blossoms in the spring.
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