COLUMBIA — Pawpaws appear to be ripening a bit early this season.
A pawpaw tree loaded with fruit was found on the MKT Nature and Fitness Trail on Wednesday.
The fruit is green at first and turns yellow when it is ripe.
According to Brian Schweiss, a resource forester with the Conservation Department, pawpaws usually bear fruit a little bit later in the fall. Missouri "greened up" about three weeks earlier this year.
The fruit is edible, and the trees are native to Missouri.
Schweiss said he rarely finds fully ripened pawpaw fruits because racoons and other animals eat them before humans do.