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Diospyros tessellaria - Poir.

Common Name Black ebony, Mauritian ebony
Family Ebenaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats A dominant component of lowland evergreen forest and upland rainforest in the southwest and eastern mountain ranges[ 338 ].
Range Africa - Mauritius.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (4 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care
Tender Moist Soil Full sun
Diospyros tessellaria Black ebony, Mauritian ebony


International Institute of Tropical Agriculture
Diospyros tessellaria Black ebony, Mauritian ebony
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Summary

Diospyros tessellaria or commonly known as Mauritian Ebony or Black Ebony is an evergreen shrub or small tree about 20 m in height that can be found in Africa. Its leaves are thick and dark green in colour. Flowers and fruits are small. Its bark and heartwood are black while its sapwood is white. It produces a high quality timber used for musical instruments, small pieces of furniture and in marquetry.


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Diospyros tessellaria is an evergreen Tree growing to 15 m (49ft) by 15 m (49ft) at a slow rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 10. The flowers are pollinated by Bats.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

Diospyros reticulata Willd. [Illegitimate]

Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit
Edible Uses:

Fruit[ 511 ].

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.


None known

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Other Uses

Other Uses: A high quality timber, known as 'Mauritius Ebony' is obtained from the tree[ 46 ]. The bark is black, the sapwood is white and the heartwood black. The wood is used to manufacture keys of musical instruments, small pieces of furniture and in marquetry.

Special Uses

Cultivation details

Tolerates both dry lowland areas and upland wet rainforest. Now rarely coastal. A canopy tree that was exploited on a large scale during the Dutch occupation of Mauritius in the 17th century. You may have to wait 50 years to harvest the black infamous heartwood. Prefers temperatures no less than 54 F. In general Diospyros species are dioecious and require both male and female forms to be grown if fruit and seed are required[ 899 ].

Temperature Converter

Type a value in the Celsius field to convert the value to Fahrenheit:

Fahrenheit:

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Propagation

Seed - it has a very short viability and so should be sown as soon as possible[ 325 ]. The flesh should be removed since this contains germination inhibitors[ 325 ]. Sow the seed in a shady position in a nursery seedbed. The sowing media for ebony uses soil and fine sand at the ratio 3:1. The seed is planted horizontally or vertically with the radicle end down, with a sowing depth of 1 - 1.5x the thickness of seed. Distance between the seeds is 3 - 5cm. Seeds are very sensitive to desiccation during germination and early growth, so must be regularly watered at this time[ 325 ]. Normally the seed will germinate after one week. In one trial, fresh seed, sown one day after collection, showed 85% germination rate within 17 - 65 days[ 325 ]. As a rule fresh seeds have a high percentage of fertility. The seedlings develop long taproots at an early stage, often before any appreciable elongation of the shoot takes place. The growth of the seedling is decidedly slow [ 652 ].

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

Mauritius

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 : Status: Vulnerable B1+2cde

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Diospyros celebicaIndonesian Ebony, black ebony, makassar-ebenholtsTree30.0 10-12 SLMHNM204
Diospyros conzattiiZapote negro mont's, zapotillo.Tree10.0 10-12 SLMHNDM402
Diospyros crassifloraBenin EbonyTree15.0 10-12 SLMHNM024
Diospyros digynaBlack Sapote, Chocolate Pudding TreeTree15.0 10-12 SLMHSNM412
Diospyros ebenumEbony, Ceylon Ebony, Mauritius Ebony, Ebony PersimmonTree20.0 10-12 SLMHNM124
Diospyros kakiPersimmon, Japanese persimmonTree12.0 7-9 MLMHSNM433
Diospyros lotusDate PlumTree9.0 7-9 MLMHSNM51 
Diospyros malabaricaIndian Persimmon, Gaub, Timbiri, Mountain ebonyTree35.0 10-12 SLMHFSNM134
Diospyros mespiliformisWest African Ebony, Monkey guava, jackalberryTree20.0 10-12 MLMHNM434
Diospyros munMun Ebony, Vietnamese EbonyTree15.0 10-12 SLMHNDM004
Diospyros quaesitaCalamander, kalu mediriyaTree30.0 10-12 SLMHNDM024
Diospyros texanumBlack PersimmonTree12.0 -  LMHSNM20 
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Poir.

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A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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