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Small-flowered Pawpaw Asimina parviflora

Other Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
ah-SIH-min-ah par-vi-FLO-ra
Description

Small-flowered Pawpaw is a shrub found in SE USA and most areas of NC in dry pine or oak forests or thickets. It generally grows only 6-8 feet tall. The young shoots and leaves are covered with a rusty down, later becoming smooth. The small brownish-purple, six-petaled flowers are borne singly in leaf axils before leaf emergence. The fruit of Dwarf Pawpaw is smaller than other pawpaws but is edible off the tree or used in cooking. More than one genetic strain is needed for best fruit set. Its leaves are the only plant the beautiful zebra swallowtail butterfly caterpillars will eat. 

Preference is for loose, moist to dry, well-drained soils in partial shade. As it matures and establishes it will tolerate full sun. It does not tolerate dry compacted soils and they have a long taproot so transplanting is difficult. Pawpaws need some babying to establish but are worth the effort. This plant works well as an understory tree in an open woodland setting and provides wildlife with food- and you too if you can get there first.

Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#small tree#partial shade#deciduous shrub#understory tree#edible fruits#edible garden#food source fall#food source herbage#food source soft-mast fruit#piedmont mountains UPL#bird friendly#mammals#butterfly friendly#FACU Coastal
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#small tree#partial shade#deciduous shrub#understory tree#edible fruits#edible garden#food source fall#food source herbage#food source soft-mast fruit#piedmont mountains UPL#bird friendly#mammals#butterfly friendly#FACU Coastal
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Asimina
    Species:
    parviflora
    Family:
    Annonaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Used by Native Americans and early settlers for food. Seeds and leaves were used medicinally.
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Layering
    Root Cutting
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    SE USA
    Distribution:
    NC south to Florida and west to Texas
    Wildlife Value:
    Host plant to zebra swallowtail butterfly. Fruits are eaten by birds and mammals.
    Play Value:
    Edible fruit
    Wildlife Food Source
    Wildlife Larval Host
    Edibility:
    Fruits are sweet and can be used raw or cooked
    Dimensions:
    Height: 3 ft. 0 in. - 12 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 2 ft. 0 in. - 6 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Edible
    Native Plant
    Shrub
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Multi-stemmed
    Open
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Piedmont
    Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
    7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Fragrant
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Fruit Length:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Width:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Description:
    1-3 inch long cylindric yellow-green fruits mature to dark brown. Displays from July to September.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Purple/Lavender
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Head
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Bell
    Flower Petals:
    6 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    3/4 inch brownish-purple, fleshy, bell-shaped, six-petaled flowers are borne singly in leaf axils before leaf emergence. May have a mildly unpleasant odor. Blooms from April to May.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Oblanceolate
    Obovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Dark green 3-6 inch long leaves are obovate to oblanceolate, base narrowly to broadly cuneate, margins barely revolute, apex acute to acuminate. Young leaves covered with a rusty down maturing to glabrous except for hairs along the veins. Faintly fetid.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Dark Gray
    Bark Description:
    Smooth, gray-brown, with warty lenticels.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Orange
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Buds:
    Smooth/Hairless
    Stem Bud Terminal:
    Only 1 terminal bud, larger than side buds
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    Orange-brown stems mature to brown.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Lawn
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Edible Garden
    Design Feature:
    Small Tree
    Understory Tree
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds