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Diospyros virginiana

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Plant types and subtypes: Trees & Shrubs, Trees, Shrub-like Trees, Deciduous

Light Requirements: sun, part-sun, part-shade

Water Use: medium

Soil Moisture: dry, moist, wet

Soil Description: acid, neutral, rich, average, poor, loam, clay, sand, gravel/rock

Height: 15'-60'

Bloom Time: March, April, May, June

Bloom Color: white, yellow

Leaf Color: green

Hardiness Zone: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

Additional Tags: attracts bees, attracts birds, colonizing, drought tolerant, edible, fall interest, fragrant plant, medicinal, naturalizing, pond margin plant, showy fruit, stream margin plant

Diospyros virginiana (common persimmon)
  • Diospyros virginiana (common persimmon)
  • Diospyros virginiana (common persimmon)
  • Leaves of Diospyros virginiana (common persimmon)
  • Diospyros virginiana (common persimmon)

Pricing & Availability

Description

Diospyros virginiana

Also known as:

common persimmon

,

persimmon

,

eastern persimon

,

possumwood

,

american ebony

,

white ebony

,

bara-bara

,

boa-wood

,

butterwood

Scientific Synonyms:

Diospyros mosieri

Description

Diospyros virginiana is a medium-sized deciduous tree that will greatly vary in size depending on the environment. It usually grows to a mature height between 30' and 50', but might remain shrub-like and 15' tall in poor dry soil, or grow up to 100' in fertile moist soil. Its form is oval or rounded and symmetrical. The leaves are large, oval, leathery, glossy on top, and can turn attractive shades of yellow to red in fall. The flowers are not showy but lightly fragrant. It produces showy, roundish 2" in diameter edible fruit that emerges green and ripens to deep shades of orange to purple. The bark of older trees is distinctive with deeply cut square or rectangular patterns.

Cultivation

Common persimmon is very easy to grow, adaptable and low maintenance. It sends out a deep taproot making it very drought resistant and well suited for sandy very well-drained soils, yet it is also commonly found around water margins and in flood plains where it thrives in heavy saturated clay. Trees will have a tendency to produce root suckers, but these can be easily removed. If left in place, these will soon colonize and form thickets. Its ability to thrive under duress makes it well suited for urban environments. Male and female flowers are borne on separate trees. Both will need to be in proximity of one another if fruit production is desired. Flowering times will vary depending on geographic location, from March to June. Zones 5-10

Propagation

Propagate from fresh seeds that have been clean of any residual fruit. Stored seeds will require cold stratification to break dormancy and improve germination rates. Can be propagated from root cuttings. New plants are quick to develop a taproot, difficult to transplant, and should be place in a permanent location as soon as possible.

Additional Notes

Young fruit is astringent and unpalatable. It should be left on the tree until soft and ripe. In northern areas this will occur until after first frosts. They can be eaten raw or made into preserves, custards, sherbets and ice creams, or baked into pies. Because ripe fruit are soft and easily damaged in transport, they have never been widely produced or commercialized. Being a member of the Ebony family, persimmon wood is very dense and extremely hard. It is so tough it has long been used in the manufacture of golf club heads. The leaves have been brewed into teas, the seeds have been roasted and used as a coffee substitute. Unripe fruit and bark have been used in traditional medicine to treat ailments ranging from diarrhea, to hemorrhages and fevers.

Native Range & Classification

Recorded County Distribution: USDA data

Native Range:
AL, AR, CA, 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

USDA Endangered Status:

  • Special Concern: CT
  • Threatened: NY

Classification

Kingdom Plantae Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta Flowering plants
Class Magnoliopsida Dicotyledons
Subclass Dilleniidae
Order Ebenales
Family Ebenaceae Ebony family
Genus Diospyros diospyros
Species Diospyros virginiana common persimmon