Shrubs or small trees , taprooted; trunks straight in arborescent forms. Bark thin, cracking longitudinally (shallowly furrowed in larger trees of Asimina triloba ). Shoots: secondary branching sparse to copious, 2-ranked; primary shoots of shrubs usually several, erect to arching or decumbent; lenticels scattered, small, prominent; buds naked. Leaves deciduous. Leaf blade membranous or leathery, glabrous to variously hairy. Inflorescences axillary, on new shoots or from above leaf scars of previous seasons, fascicles; peduncle bracteate or bracteolate. Flowers 1-4 per leaf axil, nodding to nearly erect, becoming enlarged; receptacle convex to ±globose or elongate, elevated; sepals deciduous, 3(-4), nearly distinct, triangular to deltate-ovate, valvate in bud; petals in 2 unequal whorls, each of 3-4 equal members, with prominent veins, imbricate in bud, those of outer whorl larger, thinner than those of inner whorl; nectaries present, usually with differently pigmented, thickened-corrugate zones adaxially near petal bases; stamens very numerous, short-columnar, forming ball; filament short; connective blunt to nearly spheric or cuboid; pistils 2-8(-12), sessile to stipitate, distinct, glabrate; ovules several (sometimes few) in 2 staggered rows. Fruits simple berries, usually 3-5 per flower, spreading from swollen receptacles, unevenly oblong-cylindric, pulpy. Seeds 3-many per pistil, bean-shaped, slightly compressed laterally, coat tough, margins absent. x =9.
Sep soon deciduous; outer pet imbricate, inner smaller, valvate; pollen in tetrads, uniaperturate; pistils (1-)3-15, usually only 1-3 maturing; ovules several or many; fr fleshy, aromatic; shrubs or small trees with deciduous lvs. 10, e. U.S.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.