Asimina triloba (L.) Dunal
  • ALTERNATE COMMON NAME: Kentucky banana, custard-apple
  • LEAVES: deciduous, alternate, simple, short-petiolate, upper surface of petiole grooved, blades thin and papery, obovate or oblanceolate, 6-12” long; upper surfaces of young blades sparsely reddish appressed-pubescent, lower surfaces densely so; leaves with a green (bell) pepper odor when crushed
  • FLOWER: perfect (bisexual), maroon, ca. 1.5” in diameter, born in axils of leaf scars, nodding; sepals in a single whorl of 3(-4) distinct members, deciduous; petals in 2 unequal whorls each of 3(-4) members, petals of the inner whorl smaller than those of the outer; flowering in early spring just as new leaves are emerging
  • FRUIT: greenish-yellow berry 3-6” long, oblong-cylindric (somewhat sweet potato-shaped); seeds shiny, bean-shaped; berry edible, matures in August and September in our area
  • TWIGS: new shoots generously dark brown-hairy, aging smooth and gray-brown; terminal buds dark brown, hairy, naked, to ca. 0.5” long
  • BARK: smooth with small warty processes, brown with gray splotches
  • FORM: shrub or small tree, to ca. 40’ tall, colonial growth from root suckers
  • HABITAT: shady mesic forests with fertile soil, on old and young landscapes
  • WETLAND DESIGNATION: In the "Western Gulf Coast Subregion" of the Atlantic and Gulf Coast Plain Region, this species is Facultative Upland (FACU): Usually occurs in non-wetlands, but may occur in wetlands. In the remainder of the Atlantic and Gulf Coast Plain Region, this species is Facultative (FAC): Occurs in wetlands or non-wetlands
  • RANGE: eastern US [USGS Range Map]
  • USES: edible fruit; ornamental (edible landscaping)
  • WILDLIFE: fruit eaten by opposum, raccoon, fox, and squirrel; Asimina species are the exclusive hosts for zebra swallowtail butterfly (Eurytides marcellus) larvae
  • Best Recognition Features:
    1. colonial shrub-small tree of rich-soil forest understories
    2. large brown hairy naked terminal buds
    3. dorsal surface of petiole grooved
    4. large papery obovate leaves with bell pepper smell when crushed
    5. maroon flowers appearing in early spring
    6. fruit a sweet potato-shaped yellow-green berry