We have over 100,000 visitors each month, but in the whole of 2013 less than £1,000 was raised from donations. We rely on donations and cannot continue to maintain our database and website unless this increases considerably in 2014. Please make a donation today. More information on our financial position >>>
Search Page Content
   Bookmark and Share
   
    By donating to PFAF, you can help support and expand our activities
    Plant Suppliers: Click here for a List

Diospyros virginiana - L.                
                 
Common Name American Persimmon, Common persimmon, Persimmon
Family Ebenaceae
Synonyms
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  
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun

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 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.


USDA hardiness zone : 4-8


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.

Diospyros virginiana American Persimmon, Common persimmon, Persimmon


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


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.
                                                                                 
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].
Plant Suppliers: Click here for a List

      You can download this page as a PDF

Expert comment                                         
 
      
Author                                         
L.
                                                                                 
Botanical References                                         
1143200
                                                                                 
Links / References                                         

  [K] Ken Fern Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.

[1]F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaces in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
[2]Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World.
Lots of entries, quite a lot of information in most entries and references.
[3]Simmons. A. E. Growing Unusual Fruit.
A very readable book with information on about 100 species that can be grown in Britain (some in greenhouses) and details on how to grow and use them.
[11]Bean. W. Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
[21]Lust. J. The Herb Book.
Lots of information tightly crammed into a fairly small book.
[43]Fernald. M. L. Gray's Manual of Botany.
A bit dated but good and concise flora of the eastern part of N. America.
[46]Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants.
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
[78]Sheat. W. G. Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers.
A bit dated but a good book on propagation techniques with specific details for a wide range of plants.
[82]Sargent. C. S. Manual of the Trees of N. America.
Two volumes, a comprehensive listing of N. American trees though a bit out of date now. Good details on habitats, some details on plant uses. Not really for the casual reader.
[102]Kavasch. B. Native Harvests.
Another guide to the wild foods of America.
[113]Dirr. M. A. and Heuser. M. W. The Reference Manual of Woody Plant Propagation.
A very detailed book on propagating trees. Not for the casual reader.
[149]Vines. R. A. Trees of Central Texas.
Fairly readable, it gives details of habitats and some of the uses of trees growing in Texas.
[160]Natural Food Institute, Wonder Crops. 1987.
Fascinating reading, this is an annual publication. Some reports do seem somewhat exaggerated though.
[171]Hill. A. F. Economic Botany.
Not very comprehensive, but it is quite readable and goes into some a bit of detail about the plants it does cover.
[175]Bird. R. (Editor) Focus on Plants. Volume 5. (formerly 'Growing from seed')
Very readable magazine with lots of information on propagation. A good article on Corydalis spp.
[177]Kunkel. G. Plants for Human Consumption.
An excellent book for the dedicated. A comprehensive listing of latin names with a brief list of edible parts.
[183]Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
[200]Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
[213]Weiner. M. A. Earth Medicine, Earth Food.
A nice book to read though it is difficult to look up individual plants since the book is divided into separate sections dealing with the different medicinal uses plus a section on edible plants. Common names are used instead of botanical.
[222]Foster. S. & Duke. J. A. A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants. Eastern and Central N. America.
A concise book dealing with almost 500 species. A line drawing of each plant is included plus colour photographs of about 100 species. Very good as a field guide, it only gives brief details about the plants medicinal properties.

Readers comment                                         
 
Elizabeth H.
Sun Aug 12 2007

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

Elizabeth H.
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.
Rate This Plant                                         
Please rate this plants for how successful you have found it to be. You will need to be logged in to do this. Our intention is not to create a list of 'popular' plants but rather to highlight plants that may be rare and unusual and that have been found to be useful by website users. This hopefully will encourage more people to use plants that they possibly would not have considered before.
     
                                                                                 
Add a comment/link                                         

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 admin@pfaf.org. 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.

Subject : Diospyros virginiana  
             

Links To add a link to another website with useful info add the details here
Name of Site
URL of Site
Details