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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  
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Diospyros virginiana American Persimmon, Common persimmon, Persimmon


Diospyros virginiana American Persimmon, Common persimmon, Persimmon
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Jean-Pol_GRANDMONT

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Summary

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


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 species is 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.

Synonyms

Habitats

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



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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.

Propagation

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

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

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

 

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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

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