Contact Us Host an Event 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

White spots on Hibiscus leaves
August 06, 2008 - My hibiscus trees have white spots or splotches on the leaves. What is it and what can I do to get rid of it? Also, the birds are eating my tomatoes faster than i can grow them. I've used the owl &...
view the full question and answer

complete list of Central Texas edible plants
January 07, 2010 - Hello! I have been searching for a complete list of Texas Hill Country Native Edibles (for humans) without much luck. Do you know of a good source? Thanks so much for your hard work! Steph
view the full question and answer

Is cenizo (Leucophyllum frutescens) edible?
December 21, 2012 - I found a post here about cenizo leaves being used for tea, but I'm wondering if the leaves of the cenizo are edible? I have found many recipes for 'brown butter sage' leaves (sauteed often with on...
view the full question and answer

Are there edible nettles native to the Austin, TX area?
September 13, 2011 - Are there any nettles native to this area? I would like to cook with them (if there is a good substitute, please advise). Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Edible Plants for North Georgia
January 10, 2010 - We are planning a forest food garden in the hollers of the N GA Mountains. Which edible fruit, nut, berry, herb and creepers would be best for this reddish, clay-like soil? The food garden is in...
view the full question and answer

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