Diospyros virginiana L.
Common persimmon, Eastern persimmon, Possumwood, Date plum, Winter plum, Jove's fruit
Ebenaceae (Ebony Family)
Synonym(s): Diospyros mosieri, Diospyros virginiana var. mosieri, Diospyros virginiana var. platycarpa, Diospyros virginiana var. pubescens, Diospyros virginiana var. virginiana
USDA Symbol: DIVI5
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.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
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 InformationBloom Color: Yellow , Green
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun
DistributionUSA: AL , AR , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , MO , MS , NC , NE , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , SC , TN , TX , UT , VA , WV
Native Distribution: FL to e. TX, n. to CT, s. IN, s. IA & e. KS
Native Habitat: Dry woods; old fields; clearings
Growing ConditionsWater 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.
BenefitUse 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
Value to Beneficial InsectsSpecial Value to Honey Bees
This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.
Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)
Luna moth |
Learn more at BAMONA
Adult Food Source
PropagationPropagation Material: Root Cuttings
Description: Germinates easily from stratified seeds; seedling grow slowly. Bury root cuttings in moist sand over winter and lift when shoot is well developed. Difficult to transplant because of a deep, coarse root system. This plant may be grafted like other frui
Seed Collection: Fruit ripens to bright orange in late Septemter to November. Clean fruit immediately to prevent mold and fermentation. Air-dry seeds and store in sealed, refrigerated containers.
Seed Treatment: Stratify seeds in moist peat for 30-60 days at 36-41 degrees. Scarification does not seem to improve germination but clipping the caps can result in higher germination by encouraging radicle emergence.
Commercially Avail: yes
Find Seed or Plants
View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.
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National Wetland Indicator Status
From the National Suppliers DirectoryAccording to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:
Edge of the Woods Native Plant Nursery - Orefield, PA
LAMTREE FARM - Warrensville, NC
ArcheWild Native Nurseries - Quakertown, PA
Yellow Springs Farm Native Plant Nursery - Chester Springs , PA
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Pineywoods Native Plant Center - Nacogdoches, TX
Delaware Nature Society - Hockessin, DE
Crosby Arboretum - Picayune, MS
Stengl Biological Research Station - Smithville, TX
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department - Austin, TX
Jacob's Well Natural Area - Wimberley, TX
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE
Wellspring Organic Farm and Education Center - West Bend, WI
BibliographyBibref 1186 - Field Guide to Moths of Eastern North America (2005) Covell, C.V., Jr.
Bibref 298 - Field Guide to Texas Trees (1999) Simpson, B.J.
Bibref 1185 - Field Guide to Western Butterflies (Peterson Field Guides) (1999) Opler, P.A. and A.B. Wright
Bibref 1620 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Reprint Edition) (2009) Wasowski, S. with A. Wasowski
Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
Bibref 291 - Texas Wildscapes: Gardening for Wildlife (1999) Damude, N. & K.C. Bender
Bibref 1243 - The Southeastern Indians (1976) Hudson, Charles
Bibref 297 - Trees of Central Texas (1984) Vines, Robert A.
Search More Titles in Bibliography
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Diospyros virginiana in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Diospyros virginiana in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Diospyros virginiana
MetadataRecord Modified: 2015-11-12
Research By: TWC Staff