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Beautiful Pawpaw Deeringothamnus pulchellus

The Beautiful Pawpaw, also known as Pretty False Pawpaw, Royal False Pawpaw, and White Squirrel Banana, is a very rare plant.  In Florida, it is found only in Charlotte, Lee, and Orange counties.  It is listed as an Endangered species by both the federal government and the state of Florida.

This plant is a low shrub that grows to a height of about 8-12 inches. One or more stems emanate from a single taproot. They are usually seen in pine or scrubby flatwoods.

The white fragrant flowers appear in the angle between the leaf and stem.  Each flower has from 6-10 petals that are 0.5-1 inch long.  The petals curve backwards when the flower is fully open. These flowers bloom in the spring.

The leathery oblong leaves, each varying in size from 1-2.5 inches, are attached alternately along the stem.  Veins are visible on both the upper and lower surfaces.

The fleshy green fruit is about 3 inches long and resembles a lumpy bean pod.  This fruit contains dark brown seeds that are about 0.5 inches long.

The photos shown on this page were taken from two plants found in the Deep Creek area of Charlotte County.

Note:  The regulations for Endangered Animals and Endangered Plants are different.  The Endangered Plant regulations do not apply to plants located on private property.