Asimina parviflora (Michx.) Dunal

Image courtesy of UGA Herbarium

Author: Amanda Jones

Common Names: (Dean, 1968)

Higher Taxa: (Takhtajan, 1997)


The species A. parviflora was first descibed by Michaux in 1803, but "treated it under his own generic epithet, Orchidocarpum and called it O. parviflorum" (Kral, 1959). Kral then states that, "The exact reasons for Michaux's selection of the new generic name are not clear" (Kral, 1959). However, Dunal (1813) recognized that Adanson, who first described Asimina, had a much better generic description and placed parviflora under the genus Asimina. A. parviflora is distinguished from A. triloba mostly by its smaller flowers and fruits and generally smaller aspect (Kral, 1959). However, specimens that lack fruit or flowers are hard to separate from certain A. triloba. Unlike A. triloba, A. parviflora is native to the lowlands of the southeastern and southern coastal plain (Dean, 1968). The only unattactive feature of A. parviflora is the "faintly fetid aroma of its flowers" (Kral, 1959). The flowers are a "small, greenish-purple growing from the sides of branches" (Dean, 1968). Flowers often appear before leaves and are often 2 cm broad (Duncan and Duncan, 1988). The species A. parviflora grows 3-12 feet high with leaves and fruit very similar to A. triloba, the latter being "oblong or pear-shaped, fleshy, and seeded" (Chapman, 1872).

Click here forSpecies Identification Key.


A. parviflora extends as far north as North Carolina and southern Georgia and Florida (Coker and Totten, 1937). The species also grows over most of the southeast (farther south than A. triloba) in pinelands, oakwoods, and coastal plains Table I: North American Distribution of A. triloba

Asimina parviflora

North America:
Continental United States; Canada
Yes Callaway, 1990
Eastern North America:
United States east of Mississippi;
Ontario and eastern Canada
Yes Callaway, 1990
Southeastern United States:
Marginal north of NC Callaway, 1990
Southern Appalachian States:
Marginal north of NC Duncan and Duncan, 1988
Coastal Plain Yes Dean, 1968
Piedmont Widespread Callaway, 1990
Blue Ridge Mountains Widespread Coker and Totten, 1937
Great Smoky Mountains National Park Marginal Callaway, 1990
Ridge and Valley Marginal Callaway, 1990
Cumberland Plateau Rare Callaway, 1990
Central Arch No Callaway, 1990
Georgia Widespread Kral, 1959
Clarke County, Georgia Yes: Lake Herrick Amanda Jones, Pers. Ob.
Sams Farm No Amanda Jones, Pers. Ob.
Old Field No Amanda Jones, Pers. Ob.
Wetland ? -
Woods No Amanda Jones, Pers. Ob.
1-Hectare Plot No Amanda Jones, Pers. Ob.

Natural History:

A. parviflora, a deciduous shrub or tree, usually begins flowering in April and continues through May and fruits appear from July to September (Callaway, 1990). The species prefers dry, sandy soil and is more like a shrub than A. triloba, growing in the shade of taller trees (Chapman, 1872). Flowers often appear before the leaves and fruits are eaten by wildlife (Duncan and Duncan, 1988).

How to Encounter:

A. parviflora can be encountered in much the same way as A. triloba, although A. parviflora is more abundant in very southern states. The best time to spot a flowering dwarf-pawpaw would be in the spring (April-May) and in coastal areas, even near lakes in Georgia and Florida (Chapman, 1872). Locally, the species is living on Lake Herrick in the Oconee National Forest.


  • Callaway, M. Brett. The Pawpaw (Asimina triloba). Kentucky State University, Frankfort, KY. Nov. 1990, Pub. No. CRS-Hort1-901T.pp.1-7, 13-14.

  • Chapman, A.W. Flora of the Southern United States. Ivison, Blakeman, Taylor, and Company, New York: 1872. p. 15.

  • Coker, William C. and Totten, Henry R. Trees of the Southeastern States. The University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill: 1937. p. 15.

  • Dean, Blanche E. Trees and Shrubs in the Heart of Dixie. Southern University Press, Birmingham, AL: 1968. pp. 96, 134.

  • Duncan, Marion B. and Wilbur H. Trees of the Southeastern United States. The University of Georgia Press, Athens, Georgia: 1988. pp. 239-242. ISBN: 0-8203-0954-0

  • Gorer, Richard. Trees and Shrubs. David and Charles, Limited: North Vancouver, BC, 1976. p. 28. ISBN: 0-7153-6850-8.

  • Kral, Robert. A Taxonomic Revision of Asimina and Deeringothamnus in North America North of Mexico. Florida State University: 1959. pp. 6, 18, 22-26.

  • Layne, Desmond R. The Pawpaw [Asimina triloba (L.) Dunal]: A New Fruit Crop for Kentucky and the United States. HortScience, Vol. 31 (5): September, 1996. pp.777-783.

  • Moore, Michael. Position: Cureator at the University of Georgia Herbarium (Plant Sciences Bldg.).

  • Takhtajan, Armen. Diversity and Classification of Flowering Plants. Columbia University Press, New York: 1997. pp. 39, 41, 42, 45, 47. ISBN: 0-231-10098-1.

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