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Common Persimmon – Diospyros virginiana

Tree with a dense cylindrical or rounded crown, or sometimes a shrub, best known by its sweet, orange fruit in autumn.

Height: 20-70’ / Diameter: 1-2’

Leaves: 2.5-6” long; ovate to elliptical; long-pointed; without teeth; shiny dark green above, whitish-green and hairless to densely hairy beneath; turning yellow in autumn.

Bark: brown or blackish; thick, deeply furrowed into small square scaly plates.

Flowers: with bell-shaped, 4-lobed white corolla; fragrant. Male and female on separate trees in spring.

Fruit: 1” in diameter, rounded or slightly flat berry. Orange to purplish brown. Matures in autumn and often remains attached into winter; orange pulp becoming soft and juicy at maturity. 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.

Habitat: moist alluvial soils of valleys and in dry uplands; also at roadsides and in old fields, clearings, and mixed forests.

Principle use of the wood are for golf-club heads, shuttles for textile weaving, and furniture veneer.

 

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