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Diospyros kaki - Thunb.

Common Name Persimmon, Japanese persimmon
Family Ebenaceae
USDA hardiness 7-9
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Not known in a truly wild situation, it is found in broad leafed woodland but probably as an escape from cultivation[74, 200].
Range E. Asia - China, Japan.
Edibility Rating    (4 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (3 of 5)
Frost Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Diospyros kaki Persimmon, Japanese persimmon

Diospyros kaki Persimmon, Japanese persimmon


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Bloom Color: White. Main Bloom Time: Early spring, Late spring, Mid spring. Form: Rounded, Upright or erect.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of lolypop
Diospyros kaki is a deciduous Tree growing to 12 m (39ft) by 7 m (23ft) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 8 and is frost tender. It is in flower from July to August, and the seeds ripen in 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). . 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.


D. chinensis.


Woodland Garden Secondary; Sunny Edge;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit.
Edible Uses: Coffee;  Condiment;  Sweetener.

Fruit - raw or cooked[1, 2, 3, 7, 46, 61]. The fruit has an exquisitely rich flavour when it is very soft and fully ripe (almost at the point of going bad), but the fruit of many cultivars is very harsh and astringent before then[K]. In Britain, the fruit needs to be harvested whilst it is still very hard. This is done very late in the season (in December or even January if possible), it is then stored in a cool but frost-free place until very soft and fully ripe[K]. The fruit can also be used in pies, cakes, bread, desserts etc[183]. It contains 25% sugars[74]. A fuller nutritional analysis is available[218]. The fruit can also be dried for later use[183]. The fruit is about 7.5cm in diameter[200]. The peel of the fruit can be powdered and used as a sweetener[183]. The leaves are used to improve the flavour of pickled radishes[183]. The roasted seeds are a coffee substitute[183, 240].

Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.
Fruit (Dry weight)
  • 350 Calories per 100g
  • Water : 0%
  • Protein: 3.6g; Fat: 1.5g; Carbohydrate: 91g; Fibre: 7.7g; Ash: 4g;
  • Minerals - Calcium: 80mg; Phosphorus: 100mg; Iron: 8mg; Magnesium: 0mg; Sodium: 20mg; Potassium: 950mg; Zinc: 0mg;
  • Vitamins - A: 5600mg; Thiamine (B1): 0.2mg; Riboflavin (B2): 0.15mg; Niacin: 0.9mg; B6: 0mg; C: 75mg;
  • Reference: [ 218]
  • Notes:

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.

Anthelmintic;  Antitussive;  Antivinous;  Appetizer;  Astringent;  Demulcent;  Expectorant;  Febrifuge;  
Hypotensive;  Laxative;  Sialagogue;  Stomachic;  Styptic.

Appetizer, sialagogue[116, 176, 178]. The stem bark is astringent and styptic[218]. The fruit is said to have different properties depending on its stage of ripeness, though it is generally antitussive, astringent, laxative, nutritive and stomachic[218, 238]. The fresh fully ripe fruit is used raw in the treatment of constipation and haemorrhoids[238] and when cooked is used to treat diarrhoea[238].. The dried ripe fruit is used in the treatment of bronchial complaints[238], whilst when ground into a powder it is used to treat dry coughs[238]. Juice from the unripe fruit is used in the treatment of hypertension[218, 238]. The fruits, picked green and ripened in containers with the leaves, become very sweet and are considered to be antifebrile, antivinous and demulcent[218]. The fruits are also peeled and then exposed to sunlight by day and dew by night. They become encrusted with a white powder and are then considered to be anthelmintic, antihaemorrhagic, antivinous, expectorant, febrifuge and restorative[218]. The peduncle is used to treat coughs and hiccups[218]. The calyx is used to treat hiccups[176].

Other Uses

Cosmetic;  Wood.

The pulp of unripe fruits is used in cosmetics to make face-packs because of its firming qualities[7]. Wood - hard and durable with a beautiful grain. Used for making fine furniture[266].

Cultivation details

Landscape Uses:Pest tolerant. Prefers a good deep loamy soil in sun or light shade but succeeds in most soils[11, 132, 200]. Dislikes very acid or wet and poorly drained soils[200]. Requires a sheltered position[200]. Dormant plants are quite hardy in Britain, tolerating temperatures down to about -14°c[74], but they require warmer summers than are normally experienced in Britain in order to ripen their fruit and wood[3]. 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]. A warm sunny wall improves the chance of producing ripe fruit[3] and trees fruit freely when grown under glass[1]. Fruits are frequently produced outdoors at Kew[11, K]. A tree seen in a open position with afternoon shade at Kew in November 1993 (after a cool summer) had about 200 almost ripe fruits around 8cm in diameter[K]. The same tree, after a fairly warm summer in 1996, had a large quantity of fruit just about ready for harvesting in the middle of December[K]. Trees produce a long taproot and should be planted out into their permanent positions as soon as possible[200]. The young trees require some winter protection for their first winter or two[K]. The persimmon is widely cultivated for its edible fruit in warm temperate areas of the world, especially in Japan and China, there are many named varieties[183]. Some cultivars, such as 'Fuyu', lack the usual astringency and can be eaten whilst still firm, though they develop a richer flavour if allowed to become soft[183, 200]. These non-astringent forms require a warmer climate and do not ripen in cooler areas[183]. The astringent cultivars are somewhat hardier and ripen well in cooler climates than the non-astringent forms[183]. The fruit colours better and is sweeter in warmer areas but in hot conditions has a poor texture and deep black spots develop[183]. If allowed to become very ripe (almost to the point of going rotten), they develop a better flavour than non-astringent forms[183]. Dioecious, but the female tree can produce seedless fruits in the absence of a pollinator. However, unfertilized fruit tends to be smaller and more astringent[200]. This astringency is due to the high content of tannin but once the fruit is fully ripe it loses this astringency and becomes sweet[132]. If fertilized fruit is required, then growing one male for every 8 - 10 females is usually adequate[238]. Special Features:Edible, Not North American native, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms.


Seed - best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe[113, 200]. Stored seed requires a period of 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 into their permanent positions in early summer. Give them some protection from winter cold for their first year 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 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
Diospyros virginianaAmerican Persimmon, Common persimmon, Persimmon51


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Readers comment

paola   Fri Nov 9 2007

Hi, these fruits are very common in Italy. We do not eat the skin, but scoop out the internal part with a spoon. Then you end up licking the inside of the skins anyway. Yes, it is as messy as it is delicious!

eat-drink-man-woman food!

   Tue Oct 26 09:37:10 2004

Link: Oral administration of persimmon leaf extract ameliorates skin symptoms and transepidermal water loss in atopic dermatitis model mice, NC/Nga M Matsumoto, M Kotani, A Fujita, S Higa, T Kishimoto, M Suemura, T Tanaka

david n   Mon Nov 20 2006

Persimmon needs a lot of manure according to Glowinski in the Complete Book of Fruit Growing in Australia (great book) Perhaps that explains why my first try only has tiny leaves on it in November (in Wellington New Zealand)perhaps they will grow yet. He says apply late winter and early summer, about 300 g per tree per year of age up to ten years then about 3 kg annually (I know you're thinking it's not growing because it's in Wellington, I've seen one laden with fruit a few miles away). Any experience about this? little leaves, manure.

Henrik Bjerreso   Fri Nov 24 2006

I wonder how you eat this fruit correctly. I eat them including the skin, but maybe this is like eating an orange or banana with its skin (which, of course, I would never do). I found one comment on the net warning against the skin because of its content of tannin. On the other hand - if you are not supposed to eat the skin, and the fruit is most delicious when almost over-ripe, do you then scoop the content with a spoon or what? Only when still rather hard, it is possible to peel the fruit like, say, an apple. I am looking forward to some comments on this from other users around the world. Henrik, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Ken Fern, Plants for a Future.   Sun Nov 26 2006

The only way of eating and thoroughly enjoying this fruit is to wait until it is so soft it is almost falling apart before eating it, skin and all. At that time, tannin content is at its lowest. There has been very little research into the effects of tannins upon the human diet, though it is known that, when consumed in quantity, they can reduce absorption of minerals. Tannins can be found in many foods, including red grapes (and red wine), beans, many nuts especially walnuts, plus in herb teas, chocolate and China tea. In small quantities they have several beneficial medicinal actions, especially in the treatment of bleeding, dysentery and diarrhoea. You would have to eat an awful lot of fully ripe persimmons to get anywhere near a potentially harmful does of tannins - far more than the average stomach could accomodate. All in all, persimmons are a healthy and extremely tasty addition to the diet.

david n   Mon Nov 20 2006

Persimmon needs a lot of manure according to Glowinski in the Complete Book of Fruit Growing in Australia (great book) the amount of manure is about 300 g per tree per year of age up to ten years then about 3 kg annually Perhaps that explains why my first try only has tiny leaves on it in November (in Wellington New Zealand)perhaps they will grow yet. He says apply late winter and early summer, about 300 g per tree per year of age up to ten years then about 3 kg annually (I know you're thinking it's not growing because it's in Wellington, I've seen one laden with fruit a few miles away). Any experience about this? little leaves, manure.

Mela   Wed Sep 26 2007

I guess This Fruit is not ordinary, sometimes I feel this fruit just like Human; We can't see or guess what inside just by look it's performance.I am so interested to know experience or research about what including in this fruit.

Joseph (usually called Joe) Lia   Fri Nov 20 2009

I think all kaki are delicious if riped or almost riped. But somtimes I experience some kaki with an unmatched taste. These once are usually with parts of the fruit sour (but with a nice type of sour taste and parts of the fruit being superb sweet. Can anyone tell me how I can manage to have such a tree with this type of fruit?? I am ready to give payment for this. I live in Malta (middle of the Meditteranean) and such type of tree is surly grown or was grown here. But most kaka trees here are now impoted from Italy, Spain etc. and I am sure that although their fruits are delivious they are of inferious tastes to the type of fruit I am speaking about. Can anyone please help by advice or offer me such a tree...??? Also I think (from a once experience) that eating a considerable large ammount of Kaka at any one time can lower drastically blood pressure to a dangerious level even although you may be accustomed to a considerable high blood pressure. I am not a doctor or a scientist but I beleive I have a good once experience making beleive that it is so... my e mail is liamosta@gmail.com

Joseph (usually called Joe) Lia   Fri Nov 20 2009

I think all riped Kaki re delicious. But a few years ago I occasionally experience Kaki with unmatched quality tastes. These fruits are usually with part/s of sour good taste and part/s of the (same) fruit of superb sweet taste.Can anyone please help me with advice or offer (a tree)for such a tree. I am ready to pay for such an advice or buy the tree. I live in Malta in the middle of the Meditteranean. But most kaki fruits are imported and most kaki trees are also imported. Although the fruit is delicious it has inferiour quality to the kaki fruit I an refering about. You may contact me on liamosta@gmail.com Moreover I have reasons to beleive that eating an occasioanl good/much quantity of Kaki fruits can greatly lower blood pressure to a dangerious level... I am not a doctor or scientist but I think I have experienced this without doubt.... Morover I am well told that the first Kaki tree was first sown in Malta in 1942 when an English squadron leader brought this fruit from UK in the worst part of the war in Malta....

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