Diospyros virginiana - L.
Common Name American Persimmon, Common persimmon, Persimmon
Family Ebenaceae
USDA hardiness 4-8
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Dry woods, old fields and clearings[43], on light well-drained sandy soils[82]. Found on most soil types from sands to shales and mud bottomlands[149].
Range Eastern N. America - New England to Florida, west to Texas and Kansas.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun

Translate this page:

You can translate the content of this page by selecting a language in the select box.

Bloom Color: White. Main Bloom Time: Early spring, Late spring, Mid spring. Form: Oval, Pyramidal.

Diospyros virginiana American Persimmon, Common persimmon, Persimmon

Diospyros virginiana American Persimmon, Common persimmon, Persimmon
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of lolypop
Diospyros virginiana is a deciduous Tree growing to 20 m (65ft 7in) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 4 and is not frost tender. It is in flower in June, and the seeds ripen from Oct to November. The flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required) and are pollinated by Insects, wind.The plant is not self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.


Woodland Garden Canopy; Secondary; Sunny Edge;
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Fruit;  Oil.
Edible Uses: Coffee;  Oil;  Sweetener;  Tea.

Fruit - raw, cooked or dried and used in breads, cakes, pies, puddings etc[46, 183]. About the size of a plum, the fruit has an exquisitely rich flavour when it is fully ripe (and almost at the point of going bad) but it is very harsh and astringent before then[2, 3, 171, K]. The fruit may not ripen properly in a cool summer, though if it is frosted it normally develops a very good flavour[K]. The fruit can also be harvested in the autumn, preferably after a frost, and bletted. (This is a process where the fruit is kept in a cool place and only eaten when it is very soft and almost at the point of going rotten). Much of the fruit on trees in a relatively sunny position at Kew after a relatively warm summer in 1996 was still not fully ripe, though it was very nearly so and ripened well off the tree[K]. The fruit can also be dried and used in bread, cakes etc. The fruit is up to 4.5cm in diameter[200]. Molasses can be made from the fruit pulp[183]. An oil obtained from the seeds is said to taste like peanut oil[222]. A tea is made from the dried leaves[102]. It is high in vitamin C and has a pleasant flavour somewhat like sassafras[21, 183]. The roasted seed is used as a coffee substitute[177, 183].
Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Antiscorbutic;  Astringent;  Warts.

A decoction of the boiled fruit was used to treat bloody stools[213]. (This probably refers to the unripe fruit, which is very astringent[K]). The leaves are rich in vitamin C and are used as an antiscorbutic[213]. A decoction of the inner-bark is highly astringent[149, 222]. It has been used as a mouth rinse in the treatment of thrush and sore throats[213, 222]. Used externally as a wash for warts or cancers[222].


Other Uses
Oil;  Soil stabilization;  Wood.

Can be used as a rootstock for D. kaki[46]. Wood - strong, hard, heavy, fine-grained, elastic, resistant to wear. A valuable wood, it is used for making wooden ware, turnery etc[46, 82, 149, 171]. It is used especially for making handles for golf clubs[149].
Cultivation details
Requires a good deep loamy soil in sun or light shade[200]. If being grown for its fruit, the tree requires a warm, sunny, sheltered position[K]. It dislikes very acid or wet and poorly drained soils[200]. Plants are somewhat tender when young[11], though dormant mature trees are hardy to about -35°c[160]. The young growth in spring, even on mature plants, is frost-tender and so it is best to grow the plants in a position sheltered from the early morning sun[K]. Dioecious, but the female tree can produce seedless fruits in the absence of a pollinator[1]. It is likely that unfertilized fruits are more astringent than fertilized fruits since this is the case with D. kaki[K]. Trees can start producing fruit when only a few years old, a specimen seen at Kew Botanical gardens in autumn 1996 was only 1.5 metres tall and was bearing a very large crop of fruit[K]. This species is occasionally cultivated for its edible fruit, there are several named varieties[82, 183]. 'Dooley' grows well near the northern limits of persimmon culture[183]. 'Geneva Red' also grows well at the northern limits of persimmon culture. The fruit is medium to large[183]. 'Meader' grows well in cooler areas, it is self-fertile[183]. Plants have a long tap root and are difficult to transplant[149, 200], it is best to plant them out in their permanent position as soon as possible and to give protection overwinter for the first year or two[K]. The ssp. D. virginiana platycarpa has sweet succulent flesh, it grows wild from Missouri to Arkansas[82]. Special Features: Attracts birds, North American native, Attracts butterflies, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms.
Seed - best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe[113, 200]. Stored seed requires cold-stratification and should be sown as early in the year as possible[78]. It usually germinates in 1 - 6 months at 15°c[175]. Pot up the young seedlings as soon as they are large enough to handle into fairly deep pots and plant them out in early summer. Give the plants some protection from winter cold for their first winter or two outdoors. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame[200]. Layering in spring[200].
Other Names
Found In
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :
Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Diospyros celebicaIndonesian Ebony, black ebony, makassar-ebenholts20
Diospyros conzattiiZapote negro mont's, zapotillo.40
Diospyros crassifloraBenin Ebony02
Diospyros digynaBlack Sapote, Chocolate Pudding Tree41
Diospyros ebenumEbony, Ceylon Ebony, Mauritius Ebony, Ebony Persimmon12
Diospyros kakiPersimmon, Japanese persimmon43
Diospyros lotusDate Plum51
Diospyros malabaricaIndian Persimmon, Gaub, Timbiri, Mountain ebony13
Diospyros mespiliformisWest African Ebony, Monkey guava, jackalberry43
Diospyros munMun Ebony, Vietnamese Ebony00
Diospyros quaesitaCalamander, kalu mediriya02
Diospyros tessellariaBlack ebony, Mauritian ebony20
Diospyros texanumBlack Persimmon20


Print Friendly and PDF
Expert comment
Botanical References
Links / References
For a list of references used on this page please go here
Readers comment
   Sun Aug 12 2007

persimmonpudding.com dedicated to growing, education, and use of Diospyros virginiana L., the common, or American persimmon

   Tue Apr 28 2009
Hello there I am about to propagate from seed and was wondering how long it might take before I can tell male from female plants and are there any particular clues bar flowering Thanks Gaia
QR Code

What's this?

This is a QR code (short for Quick Response) which gives fast-track access to our website pages. QR Codes are barcodes that can be read by mobile phone (smartphone) cameras. This QR Code is unique to this page. All plant pages have their own unique code. For more information about QR Codes click here.

1. Copy and print the QR code to a plant label, poster, book, website, magazines, newspaper etc and even t-shirts.
2. Smartphone users scan the QR Code which automatically takes them to the webpage the QR Code came from.
3. Smartphone users quickly have information on a plant directly for the pfaf.org website on their phone.
Add a comment

If you have important information about this plant that may help other users please add a comment or link below. Only comments or links that are felt to be directly relevant to a plant will be included. If you think a comment/link or information contained on this page is inaccurate or misleading we would welcome your feedback at [email protected]. If you have questions about a plant please use the Forum on this website as we do not have the resources to answer questions ourselves.

* Please note: the comments by website users are not necessarily those held by PFAF and may give misleading or inaccurate information.

To leave a comment please Register or login here All comments need to be approved so will not appear immediately.

Subject : Diospyros virginiana  

Plant Uses

Edible Uses
Medicinal Uses
Other Plant uses
Woodland Gardening
Why Perennial Plants?
Top Edible Plants
Top Medicinal Plants
Garden Design

Twiter      Facebook


Content Help
Support Us
Old Database Search
About Us

Stay informed about PFAFs progress,
challenges and hopes by signing up for
our free email ePost. You will receive
a range of benefits including:
* Important announcements and news
* Exclusive content not on the website
* Updates on new information &
functionality of the website & database

We will not sell or share your email address.
You can unsubscribe at anytime.