Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

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
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Saturday - August 04, 2012

From: Gonzales, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification, Edible Plants, Trees
Title: Plant identification
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

We found a bush on our ranch in southern Gonzales County. It has oval shaped leaves about an inch long. There are no thorns on the branches. Fruit is round and smooth, the size of a small cherry tomato and has the same star shaped cape on top where it is attatched to the branch. Fruit ripens in July to a deep purple and has about 5 fairly large seeds inside. Can you tell us what this is and if it is edible.

ANSWER:

This sounds like Diospyros texana (Texas persimmon).  The plant is dioecious with male flowers on one plant and female flowers on a separate plant.  So, you will see some trees (the males) without fruits.  According to Delena Tull in Edible and Useful Plants of Texas and the Southwest:

"When fully ripe, the sweet rich fruit has a flavor that resembles that of a prune.  The astringency of the unripe fruit makes your mouth pucker and leaves a horrid taste, so use only the soft juicy fruit."

Deer, possums and raccoons are all very fond of the fruit.  Here is more information from TAMU Aggie Horticulture and photos from the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Texas.

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas persimmon
Diospyros texana

Texas persimmon
Diospyros texana

Texas persimmon
Diospyros texana

Texas persimmon
Diospyros texana

Texas persimmon
Diospyros texana

More Edible Plants Questions

What variety of Opuntia is best for eating in Boerne, TX.
September 26, 2011 - Which variety of Opuntia, is best for eating the pads and which are the ones best eaten for fruit?
view the full question and answer

Eliminating skunk cabbage in Troy, NY
May 19, 2009 - My yard is overgrown with skunk cabbage. My question is how do I get rid of it?
view the full question and answer

Dead or Dormant Chile Pequins in Corpus Christi
November 12, 2010 - We have 4 chile pequin and 5 chiltepin plants growing our yard. All were thriving beautifully until we took a 12-day vacation in late July. There was little rain during that time but overall this y...
view the full question and answer

Ground cover plant that tastes like cucumbers
December 18, 2011 - It is a native ground cover plant that is edible and tastes like cucumbers. Found in the Edwards Plateau. What is the name?
view the full question and answer

Non-native invasive henbit from Round Rock TX
April 27, 2013 - I've read in this book "Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants" that Henbit is an invasive plant in Texas. I've also read that it provides an early source of nectar to bees and butterflies when li...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.