Species

Asimina obovata

Common Name

Flag pawpaw; big-flower pawpaw;
scrub pawpaw

Habitat

Coastal dunes, dry, sandy ridges,
Florida scrub, and pine flatwoods

Flowering Time

March – May

“Pickin’ up pawpaws,
puttin’ em in my pocket.
Way down yonder
in the pawpaw patch!”

Distribution

Scrub pawpaw is endemic to central and south Florida.

Description

Scrub pawpaw is a deciduous, perennial, aromatic shrub or small tree, growing 6 – 10 feet. Large, beautiful white flowers are fragrant with maroon centers. The longhorn beetle and the flower scarab are primary pollinators of scrub pawpaw. Scrub pawpaw is the larval food of the zebra swallowtail butterfly.

Interesting Facts

An edible, banana-like fruit relished by wildlife follows the flowers of the scrub pawpaw. However, ripened fruit is difficult to find. Gopher tortoises are reported to eat the fruit. Scrub pawpaw is a vigorous resprouter after fires.

The common name, pawpaw derives from the papaya fruit tree.

Photos

GPS Coordinates

27.569901; – 81.505932

References

Florida Ethnobotany by Daniel F. Austin, CRC Press, Florida ©2004
Archbold Biological Station
Floridata
Dave’s Garden
Plant Description on EFloras.org
Plant Description from Nature Serve Explorer

Art by Mollie Doctrow