Trees of Alabama and the Southeast

Lisa Samuelson, Ph.D.
School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences
Auburn University

Asimina triloba/Asimina parviflora

Leaves are simple, alternate, deciduous, obovate to elliptical, and up to12 inches long with maroon hairs on the underside. When leaves are crushed they smell like green peppers. Light brown twigs have maroon hairs and buds are naked with velvety maroon hairs. Bark is brown-gray and smooth with warts. Flowers are striking purple-maroon and 3-petalled. Fruit is an edible, banana-like berry that some say tastes like custard when ripe. Form is a shrub or small tree up to 12 m (4 ft) in height, and can form thickets. Pawpaw is found in the understory on moist, well-drained sites in the east and central U.S. The fruit is custard-like when ripe and eaten by squirrel, fox, raccoon and small animals.

Photographs by Mike Hogan.

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