Netted pawpaw (Asimina reticulata)

Netted pawpaw

Pictured above: Netted pawpaw (Asimina reticulata) by Mary Keim. Click on terms for botanical definitions. View post as a PDF.

Netted pawpaw (Asimina reticulata) is a deciduous flowering shrub found in pine and scrubby flatwoods, sandhills and coastal scrub habitats throughout peninsular Florida. It blooms late winter through spring, producing many flowers that are pollinated primarily by flies and beetles. The plant is a larval host for the Zebra swallowtail butterfly and Pawpaw sphinx moth. The fruits, which appear in spring and summer, are a favorite of birds and small mammals.

Netted pawpaw fruit
Netted pawpaw’s berry is odd-shaped. Photo by Mary Keim
Netted pawpaw (Asimina reticulata)
Photo by Mary Keim

Netted pawpaw’s fragrant showy flowers are creamy white with six petals. The three outer petals are large, oblong and outward spreading. Inner petals are small, fleshy and generally upright or inward pointing. All petals may have a purplish base. The blooms are axillary, nodding and appear before leaves emerge. Young leaf uppers are sparsely covered in orange hairs; undersides are densely covered. Mature leaves are elliptic to oblong, leathery, and have a glabrous upper surface and few orange hairs on the underside. Venation is reticulate. Leaf margins are entire to revolute. Leaf arrangement is alternateStems are woody and branched. Seeds are born in yellowish-green oblong to cylindrical berries. The plant has a long taproot.

The species epithet reticulata and the common descriptor “netted” refer to the plant’s reticulated or “netted” leaf veins.

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.

Family: Annonaceae (Custard apple or soursop family)
Native range: Peninsula, from Bradford County south to Miami-Dade; Hamilton County
To see where natural populations of Netted pawpaw have been vouchered, visit
Lifespan: Perennial
Soil: Dry to moist, well-drained sandy soils
Exposure: Full sun to minimal shade
Growth habit: 2–4’+ tall
Propagation: Seed
Florida regions of landscape suitability: North, Central, South
Garden tips: Netted pawpaw is suitable for naturalistic landscapes as well as butterfly gardens. It may be pruned periodically. It does not transplant well. It is drought-tolerant once established, but cannot withstand exposure to salt.

Netted pawpaw is occasionally available from nurseries that specialize in Florida native plants. Visit to find a nursery in your area.

Learn more about Netted pawpaw from the Florida Native Plant Society and the Institute for Regional Conservation.

For information on other Asimina species, see these resources:

Slimleaf pawpaw

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.
Read more… Slimleaf pawpaw

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