Q: Can you please tell me what this shrub is in Eatonton? It has pods 1″ – 2″ long; no pulp just large brown beans inside. It is over 25 years old but still only about 5 feet tall. I saw no flowers this past spring.
A: Ah ha!
Sometimes we have to use the process of elimination. My first guess was banana shrub, Magnolia figo. But if it hasn’t grown very much and you saw no flowers then it isn’t banana shrub, which would be 15 feet tall and would have perfumed your yard each year..
The pods and seeds are unusual: they look like pawpaw fruit….but a pawpaw tree would be very large by now.
That means it’s most probably smallflower pawpaw, Asimina parviflora. The plant fits all of your descriptions and is hardy in Eatonton. No telling where it came from. I doubt the fruit is anywhere near as tasty as pawpaw but try it and see.