Asimina triloba (L.) Dunal

  • Family: Annonaceae (custard apple)
  • Common names: pawpaw, Indiana banana

    Shrub or small tree to 15 cm (6 in) diameter and 10 m (30 ft) tall. Bark on larger stems thin, dark brown, smooth to warty. Twigs long, thin, rusty-pubescent. Buds consist of a cluster of very small rusty-pubescent leaves. Leaves large, 10-25 cm (4-10 in) long and 8-13 cm (3-5 in) wide, reverse-ovate, widest beyond the middle, acuminate, tapering to a short petiole, entire, rusty-pubescent when young, dark green above, pale green below, often with unpleasant odor. Flowers 6-petaled in two series, dark green, brown, or purple, about 4 cm (1.6 in) across, blooming in early Spring. Fruits cylindrical, yellow-green to brown at maturity in Fall, 8-12 cm (3.2-4.7 in) long and 3-4 cm (1.2-1.6 in) in diameter, with an artificial-banana odor and flavor.

    Distribution: Common throughout much of the eastern U. S.
    Habitat: Well-drained floodplain forests and moist upland forests.
    Comment: The fruits are edible and several large-fruited cultivars have been developed. They are also eaten by wildlife. Asimina is derived from an old Indian name for the plant; triloba refers to the three-lobed flower.
    NWI status: FAC-

    Distribution in Oklahoma:

    Last update: 9/8/99
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