Slimleaf pawpaw

Pictured above: Slimleaf pawpaw (Asimina angustifolia) by Emily Bell. Click on terms for botanical definitions. View post as a PDF.

Leaves and flower of Slimleaf pawpaw.
Photo by Emily Bell

Slimleaf pawpaw (Asimina angustifolia) is a deciduous flowering shrub found in flatwoods, scrub and sandhills from southeast Georgia into North Florida. It is a larval host for the Zebra swallowtail butterfly and Pawpaw sphinx moth. The fruits, which ripen in summer through fall, are a favorite of birds and small mammals. Its primary pollinators are flies and beetles.

Slimleaf pawpaw’s showy flowers are creamy white to yellow with six petals. The three outer petals are large, narrow to oblong and outward spreading. Inner petals are small, fleshy and generally upright or inward pointing. All petals may have a purplish base. Leaves are alternately arranged and linear. Fruits are up to 4 inches long and cylindrical. The plant has a long taproot.

While the fruits are edible for humans, it is hard to beat the wildlife to them! Additionally, they must be perfectly to almost overly ripe. According to experienced forager Green Dean, pawpaw fruit should be eaten with caution as some people have an allergic reaction to it. Check out his website for more information on edibility, as well as historical uses of the plant.

Asimina angustifolia is the currently accepted name for Slimleaf pawpaw, although the synonym Asimina longifolia is also still used.

Family: Annonaceae (Custard apple or soursop family)
Native range: North Central Florida
To see where natural populations of Netted pawpaw have been vouchered, visit
Lifespan: Perennial
Soil: Well-drained sand
Exposure: Full sun to part shade
Growth habit: Up to 5 feet and spreading
Propagation: Seed
Florida regions of landscape suitability: North
Garden tips: : Slimleaf pawpaw is suitable for naturalistic landscapes and butterfly gardens. It does not transplant well. Although not commonly available from native plant nurseries, it may be grown by enthusiasts.

For information on other Asimina species, see these resources:

Woolly pawpaw

Woolly pawpaw (Asimina incana ) is a deciduous flowering shrub found in pine flatwoods, scrubby oak ridges, open fields and pastures from southeastern Georgia into North and Central Florida. Other common names include Flag pawpaw and Polecat bush.
Read more… Woolly pawpaw

Smallflower pawpaw

Smallflower pawpaw (Asimina parviflora ) is a deciduous flowering shrub to small tree found in floodplain forests and hardwood hammocks throughout the Southeastern Coastal Plain from southern Virginia to eastern Texas.
Read more… Smallflower pawpaw
Netted pawpaw (Asimina reticulata)

Netted pawpaw

Netted pawpaw (Asimina reticulata) blooms late winter through spring, producing many flowers that are pollinated primarily by flies and beetles. It is a larval host for the Zebra swallowtail and Pawpaw sphinx moth.
Read more… Netted pawpaw