Asimina tetramera

Common Names:
four-petal pawpaw
Growth Habit:
CPC Number:
Profile Contributors:
Anne C. Cox
Fully Sponsored

Reference Links

ITIS - Tropicos - USDA Plants - Fish & WildLife

Participating Institutions

The following Participating Institutions are custodians for this species in the CPC National Collection:
Bok Tower Gardens
Honolulu Botanical Gardens
Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

The conservation of Asimina tetramera is fully sponsored.
Anne C. Cox contributed to this Plant Profile.


The four-petal pawpaw, Asimina tetramera, is an aromatic shrub or small tree in the Annonaceae family. Another species shares the common name of pawpaw with this plant, and that is the papaya (Carica papaya), a well known tropical fruit that is in the Cariaceae family. Asimina tetramera is limited to sand pine scrub habitats in Martin and Palm Beach Counties on the Atlantic Coastal Ridge in southeast Florida. Habitat loss and fragmentation have lead to a small number of remaining individuals, questionable reproductive success, narrow endemism, and escalating pressure on public and private land use, all of which are reasons why this species was listed as federally endangered in 1986 (Moyroud 1985). The four-petal pawpaw may never have been abundant within the range.

Research and Management Summary:
Flowering occurs from late March through July and may be extended into fall if the habitat is burned in the spring (Roberts and Cox 2000). Flowers are cream colored turning dark maroon, or rarely yellow, as they mature. Beetles are the primary pollinators, although flies and wasps also visit flowers (Cox 1998). The oblong greenish-yellow fruits develop late in the summer. Fruit are eaten by raccoons, gopher tortoise, and mice. Seeds are dispersed near the parent plant.

Plant Description:
Grows up to three meters tall, with one to many stems arising from an underground stem with a deep taproot (Small 1926 & 1933, Kral 1960, USFWS 1999). This perennial shrub is fire adapted, resprouting quickly after a fire, producing numerous flowers and fruit. Recruitment primarily occurs following infrequent fire (20-100 years), but may occur intermittently during the long fire-free intervals (Cox Personal Communication).

Distribution & Occurrence


Conservation, Ecology & Research