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

 Native Plant Database

Diospyros virginiana


Common persimmon, Eastern persimmon


Ebenaceae (Ebony Family)



Diospyros virginiana (Common persimmon)
Simpson, Benny
In old fields, common persimmon is a low, shrubby tree, 15 ft. tall. In rich, moist soil the species becomes a large tree, up to 100 ft. tall, with a spreading crown and pendulous branches. Bell-shaped, yellow flowers are hidden by half-grown leaves. Large, oval, mature leaves usually become yellow-green in fall. The large, orange, edible fruit attracts wildlife. On old trunks the bark is thick and dark-gray to almost black and broken into scaly, squarish blocks. Common persimmon is deciduous. Best-known by its sweet, orange fruit in autumn.

When ripe, the sweet fruit of Persimmon somewhat recalls the flavor of dates. Immature fruit contains tannin and is strongly astringent. Persimmons are consumed fresh and are used to make puddings, cakes, and beverages. American Indians made persimmon bread and stored the dried fruit like prunes. Opossums, raccoons, skunks, deer, and birds also feed upon the fruit. Principal uses of the wood are for golf-club heads, shuttles for textile weaving, and furniture veneer. The word persimmon is of Algonquian origin, while the genus name Diospyros, from the Greek, means fruit of the god Zeus.

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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Breeding System: Flowers Unisexual , Dioecious
Size Notes: 15-20
Leaf: Dark Green
Autumn Foliage: yes
Flower: Flowers 1/2 inch
Fruit: Orange 2 inches long
Size Class: 36-72 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow , Green
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun

Distribution

USA: AL , AR , CT , DE , FL , GA , IL , IN , IA , KS , KY , LA , MD , MA , MS , MO , NE , NJ , NY , NC , OH , OK , PA , SC , TN , TX , UT , VA , WV , DC
Native Distribution: FL to e. TX, n. to CT, s. IN, s. IA & e. KS
Native Habitat: Dry woods; old fields; clearings

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: None
Soil Description: Varibable, growing best in moist, rich soil. Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay, Acid-based, Calcareous.
Conditions Comments: This tree is valued for its fruit and attraction to wildlife. Two trees are necessary for the production of fruit. Fruit is not edible until exposed to frost or consistent low temperatures. Persimmon is adaptable to varying pH and soil moisture regimes and is usually free of disease or insect problems. Because of a deep root system, successful underplanting is possible.

Benefit

Use Ornamental: Aromatic, Understory tree, Accent tree or shrub, Erosion control, Fall conspicuous
Use Wildlife: The fruit attracts a variety of wildlife. Fruit-birds, Fruit-mammals, Browse
Use Food: Deliciously sweet when ripe, these persimmons were the native fruits most prized by indigenous people of the Southeast.
Interesting Foliage: yes
Attracts: Birds

Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)

Diospyros virginiana is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
Luna moth
(Actias luna)

Food Source
Learn more at BAMONA

Last Update: 2013-09-07