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

Making Tea from Croton monanthogynus
August 13, 2013 - Do you have any other information on the value of croton monanthogynus as a tea? Nutritive value? Possible adverse reactions?
view the full question and answer

Wild plums for jelly from Conroe TX
December 18, 2012 - Do wild plum trees grow in my area? I want to get some next summer to make plum jelly.
view the full question and answer

Water requirements for fruit trees in California
January 15, 2013 - Dear Sir; In which of these options (fruit trees) the need for watering in irrigation process is higher than the others: -Olive tree -Nectarines and peaches trees -Hazelnut trees -Pistachios and ...
view the full question and answer

Plants for floodplain in Fairfield, New Jersey
March 21, 2010 - I have an easy question for you... I hope... We just moved into the floodplains of NJ in Fairfield and are interested in some plants. We would like to know what plants are best suited to grow in flood...
view the full question and answer

Sweet cherry tree for New Mexico
January 23, 2013 - What is the best kind of sweet cherry tree to plant in Santa Fe, NM? I have apple, apricot, peach and pear. Would like cherry unless it is a bad idea.
view the full question and answer

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