Botanical Name: Diospyros virginiana
Common Name: Common Persimmon, Eastern Persimmon, Possumwood, Date Plum, Winter Plum, Jove’s Fruit, American Persimmon
Description: Persimmon is a widely distributed medium to large deciduous tree forming colonies via suckers. It is native to Florida. Young trees are distinctively pyramidal but become oval with age. The leaves are a dark glossy green that can develop yellow, orange, to red-purple fall color before they go deciduous. Grows in sun to part shade to 35-60′ tall x 25-35′ wide. These are self-fertile, meaning they don’t need another persimmon tree in the area to set fruit. Common Persimmons start setting fruit when they’re 3-9 years old. Trees in 3-gallon containers are 3-5 years old, trees in 1-gallon containers are 1-3 years old.
The large, orange, edible fruit attracts wildlife. On old trunks the bark is thick and dark-gray to almost black and broken into scaly, squarish blocks. Common persimmon is deciduous. Best-known by its sweet, orange fruit in autumn, and needs cold weather to ripen.
When ripe, the sweet fruit of Persimmon somewhat recalls the flavor of dates. Immature fruit contains tannin and is strongly astringent. Persimmons are consumed fresh and are used to make puddings, cakes, and beverages. American Indians made persimmon bread and stored the dried fruit like prunes. Opossums, raccoons, skunks, deer, and birds also feed upon the fruit. Has special value to honey bees and is host plant for Luna moth caterpillars.
Not salt tolerant of inundation by salty or brackish water. Moderately tolerant of salty wind and may get some salt spray.
This plant in 1-gallon containers is 1-2′ tall
This plant in 3-gallon containers is 2-4′ tall and is 3-5 years old.
Plant Lore: Principal uses of the wood are for golf-club heads, shuttles for textile weaving, and furniture veneer. The word “persimmon” is of Algonquian origin, while the genus name Diospyros, from the Greek, means “fruit of the god Zeus.”