In at least one way, the delicate Four Petal Pawpaw (What a name. Unique but descriptive) represents a plant whose evolutionary development defies explanation. How do you ask? We’ll tell you.
Four Petal Pawpaw serves as the common name for the rather amazing Asimina tetramera. This is due to its being an extremely rare plant species found only in a small section of the United States. This unique species only lives in Martin and Palm Beach counties, in the state of Florida.
No evidence has been found to indicate that the Four Petal Pawpaw ever existed in any other area. Talk about staying close to home. The plant also grows only in the unique conditions provided by sand pine scrub habitats along the coastal dune system.
Only 17 known concentrations of the Four Petal Pawpaw exist. Within these, a total of 950 individual specimens constitutes all that survives of this species. Fortunately, 10 of the 17 surviving concentrations reside within the protected confines of the Jonathan Dickinson State Park.
Four Petal Pawpaw Physical Characteristics and Ecology
The Four Petal Pawpaw is a species of tall, aromatic shrub. Consequently, they are both unique and sweet smelling. The species attains a maximum height of as much as 9.8 ft (3 m), though it averages approximately 6.5 ft (2 m).
It may present either one or several stems. The leaves of the Four Petal Pawpaw range between a yellowish green to a dark green in color, and average roughly 4 in (10 cm) in length.
Its flowers are typically a light maroon or pink in color. The fruit of the Four Petal Pawpaw is a small berry.
Within its habitat, these serve as an important though dwindling food source for numerous local animals.
The species possesses an extensive, deep root system that allows it to survive extremes of weather and even forest fires. What a tough little shrub.