Missing from our suite of species in the Back Woods is the Florida native dwarf paw paw, Asimina pygmea. Fortunately, they are found nearby on the westernmost undeveloped portion of the museum’s property. I captured a nice cluster of plants in bloom last week to share with our readers.
The flowers start out white then develop into a beautiful deep maroon color and are sometimes candy striped in between. The flowers are pendant along the stems developing at the leaf axis. The flowers are followed by an oblong edible yellowy green berry. Another common name for this species, gopher berry, may indicate that gopher tortoise make these an addition to their grassy diet. The larvae of Zebra Swallowtail butterfly feed on the foliage of many Asimina spp. as well.
Plans are to capture the fruit and seed of these plants to cultivate and transplant them to the flatwoods areas of the Back Woods. That is if the Med Flys don’t beat us to them ;-)