The unique flowers of Asimina triloba (Pawpaw, or [insert state or region here] Banana) were in anthesis today at Potato Creek State Park in St. Joseph County, Indiana. I was shocked to see that we previously had no images of this species on Get Your Botany On!, so I figured I should post the photos I captured.
As interesting as these flowers are, because of their color, they are often overlooked. I had walked past several flowers at eye-level before noticing those in these photographs. As is often the case with flowers that are this color, an unpleasant odor is emitted by the flowers, leading to them being pollinated by insects such as carrion beetles, carrion flies, and fruit flies.
Notice how the naked (scaleless) buds open directly into the leaves - a characteristic used in winter to identify this attractive clonal tree of the primarily tropical family Annonaceae. Pawpaws can be found in rich mesic forests throughout the eastern half of the United States.
In these photographs, the paired flowers have a look that reminds me of wedding bells.
In 2009, the Pawpaw was designated as the state native fruit of Ohio. This must have had something to do with the colossal collapses of late by my Buckeyes in major sporting events... if not the fact that the fruit of Aesculus are poisonous whereas those of Asimina triloba are delicious. Good luck collecting Pawpaw fruits in the summer, though... the raccoons and deer often feast on them before we have a chance.