CPC Plant Profile: Beautiful Pawpaw
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Plant Profile

Beautiful Pawpaw (Deeringothamnus pulchellus)

The alternate leaves are leathery and oblong (1 - 7 cm) with fragrant white flowers arising from new leaf axils each season. Photo Credit: © 1991 Steve Shirah
Description
  • Global Rank: G1 - Critically Imperiled
  • Legal Status: Federally Endangered
  • Family: Annonaceae
  • State: FL
  • Nature Serve ID: 139820
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 03/08/1989

The small size of this species makes it easy to miss in its native habitat. It is a low-growing, deciduous, aromatic shrub or subshrub rarely grows more than 30 cm (0.5 meters) tall. One to several erect (if in mowed habitat) or arching (if in burned habitat) stems ascend from a taproot. These stems may be annual of perennial. Oblong leaves are alternate, leathery, and deciduous. The leaf tip is rounded or notched. Solitary white flowers arise from new leaf axils each season from March to May, and are fragrant. This species blooms only after fire or another disturbance. The fruit is fleshy, smooth, and yellow-green when ripe. (USFWS 1999)

Participating Institutions
Updates
  • 10/17/2020
  • Cryo

Tissue culture lines and cryopreserved shoot tips of several genotypes are maintained at CREW.

  • 10/17/2020
  • Tissue Culture

Tissue culture propagation and shoot tip cryopreservation protocols have been developed for this species at CREW (Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden).

Valerie Pence
  • 01/08/2018

As seeds are not abundant and may not be adaptable to current seed banking conditions, more genetic representation should be added to ex situ cryopreserved shoot tip collections.

Valerie Pence
  • 01/08/2018

Tissue culture lines and cryopreserved shoot tips of several genotypes are maintained at CREW.

Valerie Pence
  • 01/08/2018

Tissue culture propagation and shoot tip cryopreservation protocols have been developed for this species at CREW (Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden).

Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

A Florida endemic that is known only from 2 small disjunct areas: Charlotte and Lee counties (19 occurrences), and Orange County (4 occurrences). The rate of residential and agricultural development is very high where this species occurs.

Dorothy M. Brazis
  • 01/01/2010

The rate of residential and agricultural development is very high where this species occurs. The principal cause of decline is habitat destruction for residential development, horticulture, tropical fruit production, and grazing. The exclusion of fire h

Dorothy M. Brazis
  • 01/01/2010

Around 5000 individuals are found at 28 sites from Lee and Charlotte Counties, and one from Orange County. (FNAI 2000)

Dorothy M. Brazis
  • 01/01/2010

Elaine Norman of Stetson University conducts research on this species.

Dorothy M. Brazis
  • 01/01/2010

No active management known to be in progress.

Dorothy M. Brazis
  • 01/01/2010

Habitat conservation and management. Additional protected and managed lands. Burning, mowing and possibly selective grazing. Control of exotic vegetation. Prescribed burns. Additional monitoring to verify the species' status on public land. Maintenance of a GIS database with distribution and known populations and suitable habitat. Conducting surveys of distribution. Protect and enhance existing populations. Conduct research on life history characteristics of the species. Monitor existing populations. Educate the public Restore areas to suitable habitat. Incorporate prescribed fire into the management regime.

Dorothy M. Brazis
  • 01/01/2010

Maintain this species in conservation collections.

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Photos
Nomenclature
Taxon Deeringothamnus pulchellus
Authority Small
Family Annonaceae
CPC Number 1362
ITIS 18119
USDA DEPU6
Common Names beautiful pawpaw | pretty false pawpaw | royal false pawpaw | white squirrel-banana
Associated Scientific Names Deeringothamnus pulchellus | Asimina pulchella | Deeringothamnus rugelii var. pulchellus
Distribution A Florida endemic that is known only from 2 small disjunct populations: Charlotte and Lee counties (19 occurrences), and Orange County (4 occurrences) (NatureServe 2001; FNAI 2000). Only five of the s
State Rank
State State Rank
Florida S1
Habitat

This species is found in grassy flatwoods, road edges, xeric, mesic, and hydric flatwoods and pinelands in poorly drained soils. (FNAI 2000)Associated with Aristida spp., Vaccinium myrsinites, Serenoa repens, Myrica cerifera, Asimina reticulata, Quercus spp., Lyonia fruticosa, Befaria racemosa (USFWS 1999).

Ecological Relationships

The reproductive biology of the species isn't thoroughly understood, but it is thought that the plant reproduces entirely by seed. Available information suggests that the species has poor fertilization, seed-set, and germination rates. Pollinators have not been identified. It has been suggested that Gopher tortoises are potentially important seed dispersers, and may play an important role in seed germination, too. (USFWS 1999)

Pollinators
Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID
Beetles
Flower beetles Mordella atrata Suspected Pollinator Floral Link
Other
Thrips Frankliniella bispinosa Floral Visitor Link
Thrips Thrips hawaiiensis Floral Visitor Link

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