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Diospyros lotus - L.

Common Name Date Plum
Family Ebenaceae
USDA hardiness 7-9
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Mixed mountain forests to 1500 metres in China[74].
Range E. Asia - China, Japan. Himalayas.
Edibility Rating    (5 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (1 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Diospyros lotus Date Plum

Diospyros lotus Date Plum


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of lolypop
Diospyros lotus is a deciduous Tree growing to 9 m (29ft) by 6 m (19ft) at a medium rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 5 and is not frost tender. It is in flower in July, and the seeds ripen from October 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). . The plant is not self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Plant Habitats

Woodland Garden Secondary; Sunny Edge;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit
Edible Uses:

Fruit - raw or cooked[2, 3]. The fruit has an exquisitely rich flavour when it is fully ripe (almost at the point of going bad), but it is very harsh and astringent before then[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 be dried, when it acquires a date-like flavour[61, 183]. The fruit can also be harvested in the autumn, preferably after a frost, and bletted[183]. (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). The fruit of trees in a fairly sunny position at Kew ripens on the tree in most years and produces fertile seed[K]. The fruit contains about 1.9% protein, 0.2% fat, 47.7% carbohydrate, 1% ash[179]. Fruits are about the size of a large cherry, they turn from yellow to blue-black when fully ripe[183]. The fruit is about 20mm in diameter[200].

References   More on Edible Uses

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.
Febrifuge  Sedative

The fruit is febrifuge[178, 240]. It is also used to promote secretions[240]. The seed is regarded in China as being sedative[240].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Rootstock  Wood

Sometimes used as a rootstock for D. kaki[183]. Wood - durable, pliable, resists rot. Used for construction, general carpentry etc[74].

Special Uses

Food Forest

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Requires a good deep loamy soil in sun or light shade[200]. When being grown for its fruit, the tree should be given a warm, sheltered, sunny position[K]. It dislikes very acid or wet and poorly drained soils[200]. Dormant plants are very cold-hardy, but 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]. Plants have a long tap root and are difficult to transplant[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]. This species is sometimes cultivated for its edible fruit in Italy and E. Asia, there are some named varieties[142, 183].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Plant Propagation

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

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 :

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Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Botanical References


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Readers comment

Hans Perneel   Mon Dec 04 14:46:48 2000

And some information about Diospyros lotus and virginia, they both carry fruits here in Belgium ,and I have already tasted the lotus. One fruit the size of a tomato had fallen from the tree and was at an early stage of rotting, but the rest of it whas very good of taste.

   Thu Dec 16 11:23:51 2004

I saw one in Cambridge Botanic Garden covered in fruit.

rajju   Sat Feb 4 2006

can u tel me where it is available in india

Dithmar Guillaume   Sun Dec 23 2007

I live in belgium and I am a collector and nurseryman of edible landscaping plants. I have a large collection of diospyros species that produce edible fruit and all fruit very well in my country and carry tasty fruit but I yet have to come across a Diospyros lotus that produce LARGE and VERY TASTY fruit different from the type plant. Does anybody know if such a selected variety exists. There many selections of D.virginiana and many more of D.kaki but so far no known selections of very well fruiting D.lotus.

Barkat Ali Khan   Thu Feb 1 2007

Diospyros lotus is abundant in the Swat valley of Pakistan, the poor farmers sell it on very low prices then the dealers sell it in the down country cities. Now Lasoona-Society for human and natural resource development and IPRP project is working for its value additions and inhacing income of the mountain people through marketing of Diospyrus lotus.

   Mon Jan 5 2009

Las explicaciones estan muy bien. Pero este es un medio audiovisual. Y, la vista y el entendimiento agradecen ver algo más que símbolos gráficos. Así, dando las gracias por disponer esta pagina y su información. Solicito formalmente que sea de costumbre en esta página y en toda la red, que se extienda la sana costumbre de acompañar las letras con fotos, gráficos, dibujos, etc. Muchas gracias.

Stephen Hayes   Sat Nov 28 2009

Whilst I acknowledge that the tree is dioecious, where I live in East London there is a mature tree growing in my friends front garden full of ripe fruit as I write. I have not seen another one in the area, in fact it is a very rare tree to see in London. Question: How does it produce fruit?(In grest quantity?) unless this particular one is a self pollinator. I will examine its flowers next year and prove it to myself!!

david   Sat Nov 28 2009

Stephen, female flowering D.lotus are able to produce seedless fruit without a male around, but these fruit will be more astringent than fertillised ones (Source of info: Discovering fruit and nuts by S lyle)

Dithmar Guillaume   Sun Jan 17 2010

indeed, D.lotus is dioecious but as is the case with many (or perhaps most)diospyros species, a female tree will readily produce fruit but without seed(parthenocarpic fruit set). Nevertheless, in my collection I have a male tree that does set fruit. It has the typical clustered flowers of the male tree(bunches of 3 flowers )but they do develop into mature fruit, albeit smaller than those formed on female trees. But does anyone know of a variety that has really big fruit (i.e. somewhat like D.virginiana)

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