Explore Plants

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 

Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Friday - July 29, 2005

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Smarty Plants on Diospyros virginiana
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Diospyros virginiana (common persimmon) is, from what I understand, a host plant for the stunning Luna Moth caterpillar which supposedly can occur this far west. Your database entry for Diospyros doesn't mention its value as a host plant, so I'm wondering if that means either that it is not really a host, or that the Lunas don't really occur here at all. Can you help? Thanks for the great contribution you make to the community!

ANSWER:

You are absolutely right. The common persimmon (Diospyros virginiana) is a host plant for the beautiful Luna moth (Actias luna) caterpillar. Luna moths do occur in Austin, I've seen them myself. However, they are not very common since we are at the western edge of their range.

There are some D. virginiana trees along Waller Creek near the University, I know, but they aren't common in Austin either since we are also at the western edge of their range.

It is simply an oversight that this information doesn't occur in the Native Plants Database. We strive to make it as complete as possible, but our resources are limited and occasionally some important and/or interesting facts fail to be included in the entries.

 

From the Image Gallery


Common persimmon
Diospyros virginiana

More Trees Questions

Pruning a Young Cercis canadensis (Redbud) Tree
April 05, 2014 - I have a redbud tree that was transplanted when very young (five years ago). It just started budding last year. It is growing very well but the branches are low. It's like it's growing out instead o...
view the full question and answer

Seeds or seedlings of Texas madrone (Arbutus xalapensis)
January 03, 2009 - Where can I obtain seeds or seedlings of the "Texas Madrone" tree? Thank You.
view the full question and answer

Trees failing to prosper from Denham Spring LA
December 23, 2013 - I live in Louisiana. Out of all of the native trees that we grow, there are two in particular that always struggle no matter what the conditions are in which they grow. The first one, sassafras, is ...
view the full question and answer

Problems with rusty blackhaw viburnum in Austin
May 07, 2010 - I have a four foot rusty blackhaw viburnum. Last summer the leaves turned reddish and in the late summer most of them fell off. This February the plant started to leaf out and then bloomed. It has ...
view the full question and answer

Shumard Oak failing to leaf out in Pflugerville TX
March 27, 2010 - I planted a five gallon container grown Shumard Red Oak late last October and so far this spring there is no sign of any leaves on the tree. The branches are not brittle so I don't think that the tre...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.