CLEMSON — A Clemson University fruit tree expert will receive the 2008 Shepard Award for the best research paper of the year published in the Journal of the American Pomological Society. Associate professor Desmond Layne will receive the award at the society’s annual meeting July 26 in St. Louis.

Layne will share the award with colleagues at Kentucky State University in Frankfort. The citation for research paper that earned the prize is “Pomper, K.W., S.B. Crabtree, D.R. Layne, R.N. Peterson, J. Masabni, and D. Wolfe. 2008. The Kentucky pawpaw regional variety trial. J. Amer. Pom. Sci. 62(2):58-69.”

The pawpaw (Asimina triloba) fruit has fresh market and processing appeal. The fruit has a flavor that brings to mind a combination of banana, mango and pineapple.

“Prior to coming to Clemson, I led the research program at Frankfort to develop the native American fruit, pawpaw, as a new niche fruit crop for farmers trying to find horticultural alternatives to growing tobacco,” said Layne. “Dr. Kirk Pomper, my successor at Kentucky State, and I continue to collaborate on long-term projects I started there. Our work resulted in the research manuscript that is receiving the award.”

The pair has published many papers together on pawpaw. They can be found on Layne’s Web site.

Layne is the second Clemson researcher and the second member of his family to receive the Shepard Award. In 2004, Greg Reighard was awarded the honor. And twice (1967 and 1982) Layne’s father, Richard of Ontario, Canada, was selected. Both Layne men have been American Pomological Society president: the elder in 1991-1992, the younger in 2009.

Desmond Layne has been a Clemson faculty member since 1997. He is recognized worldwide as an authority on the pawpaw and peach. His peach Web site is a comprehensive and popular source of information on all topics related to peach production. Layne also is senior editor of the new 615-page comprehensive text titled “The Peach: Botany, Production and Uses.”

“Dr. Layne’s career started at Kentucky State University in 1993 with the pawpaw,” said Ted Whitwell, associate dean in Clemson's College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences. “His extension program emphasizing the culture and use of pawpaw has been featured on National Public Radio’s ‘All Things Considered’ and on ABC’s ‘World News Tonight.’”

Based on his work with pawpaws and peaches over the last 15 years, Layne was recognized last year as the 2008 Outstanding Extension Educator by the American Society for Horticultural Science. In 1993, Layne’s father also was named the Outstanding Researcher by the society.

Layne also serves as horticulture program team leader for Clemson University. He guides horticulture extension programming and supervises 36 county extension agents in South Carolina. Layne is a member of the executive and steering committees of the Southern Region Small Fruit Consortium and has conducted more than a dozen on-farm trials at commercial peach farms in the state.


On the Web

The American Pomological society: The award link on the society website is

Attached Media