Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - The University of Texas at Austin information

 Native Plant Database

Diospyros texana


Texas persimmon, Mexican persimmon, Black persimmon, Chapote, Chapote prieto


Ebenaceae (Ebony Family)



Diospyros texana (Texas persimmon)
Marcus, Joseph A.
Shrub or small tree with very hard wood, usually multi-trunked. Normally 10-15 ft tall but can reach 35 ft in the southern parts of its range. Common in brushy areas on level uplands, stony hillsides, and lower slopes from Houston and Bryan, Texas, in the east, west to Big Bend in west Texas and south to Nuevo Leon in northeastern Mexico. Very common in central and south Texas. Bark light gray to white, smooth, thin, on some trunks peeling in rectangular flakes and exposing a pinkish layer beneath. Leaves up to 2 inches long, but most about half this length, firm textured, rounded or slightly notched at the tip and tapering to the base; margins smooth, rolled down. Flowers urn shaped, whitish, about 3/8 inch wide, arranged singly or in small clusters among the new leaves; male and female on separate plants, appearing in March and April. Fruit fleshy, round, up to 1 inch in diameter, black and sweet when ripe, ripening from late July into September.

This well-shaped, small tree is valued primarily for its striking trunk and branches, which are a smooth, pale greyish white or whitish grey, peeling off to reveal subtle greys, whites, and pinks beneath. The fruits, borne on female trees, are edible once soft, with a flavor some liken to prunes, and are favorites of many birds and mammals. It is extremely drought-tolerant and disease-resistant and is ideal for small spaces in full sun. The heartwood, found only in very large trunks, is black, like that of the related ebony (Diospyros ebenum), while the sapwood is clear yellow.

Image Gallery:

39 photo(s) available

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf Retention: Deciduous , Semi-evergreen
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Shape: Obovate , Ovate
Leaf Venation: Pinnate
Leaf Pubescence: Glabrous , Tomentose
Leaf Margin: Entire
Leaf Apex: Emarginate
Leaf Texture: Leathery
Breeding System: Flowers Unisexual , Dioecious
Size Notes: 25-35 ft, but usually 10-15 ft
Leaf: dark green
Flower: Flowers 1/2 inch
Fruit: Black or dark purple 1 inch across
Size Class: 12-36 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Green
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr
Bloom Notes: fragrant

Distribution

USA: TX
Native Distribution: S.e., c. & w. TX, s. to n.e. Mex.
Native Habitat: Rocky, open woodlands, slopes & arroyos

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil pH: Alkaline (pH>7.2)
Drought Tolerance: High
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Well-drained, limestone loams, clays, and caliche.
Conditions Comments: North of the Rio Grande Valley where winters are cold, will usually be deciduous. From the Rio Grande Valley southward, will be semi-deciduous-to-evergreen, losing its leaves all at once in early spring like live oaks, with no period of bareness.

Benefit

Use Ornamental: A well-shaped, small tree valued chiefly for its striking trunk and branches.
Use Wildlife: Fruits attract birds and mammals, especially deer and peccary. This is prized food for peccary. Flowers attract butterflies.
Use Food: Fruit edible when ripened to softness.
Use Other: Fruit juice used as a dye. Wood used in woodworking.
Fragrant Flowers: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes
Attracts: Birds , Butterflies
Larval Host: Gray hairstreak, Henrys Elfin butterfly
Nectar Source: yes
Deer Resistant: Moderate

Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)

Diospyros texana is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
Gray Hairstreak
(Strymon melinus)

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA

Last Update: 2010-02-07