Pretty Pawpaw

On our outing at the North Sebastian Conservation Area on 3/8/2015 and at the south Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area on 3/7/2015, netted pawpaw (Asimina reticulata) was in full flower. More than 10 species of pawpaws are found in Florida, including the federally endangered fourpetal pawpaw (Asimina tetramera) endemic to Martin and Palm Beach counties.

Its curious, creamy-colored flowers emit a honey-like fragrance.
Pawpaws are part of the custard apple family, Annonaceae, and have edible fruits. Rarely are the fruits present for an extended period of time, as birds and small mammals quickly consume them. They are a favored food of gopher tortoises, too.
At the native wildflower workshop on 3/14/2015 at the Audubon House, speaker Kim Zarillo pointed out that scrub plants have extensive root systems and that most of their biomass is below ground. Pawpaw is no exception. Its long, long tap root makes it difficult, if not impossible, to transplant and hard to grow from seed.
!!asiminia-reticulata-at-nscaA long-lived perennial, pawpaw grows best in sandy soils that are sometimes damp. The species name reticulata means netted and refers to the leaf venation. Pawpaws are the larval host plant for the zebra swallowtail (Eurytides marcellus) butterfly and the pawpaw spinx (Dolba hyoeous) moth.

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