Persimmon

Persimmon fruit.

Botanical name:

Diospyros virginiana

Family (English):

Ebony

All Common Names:

Persimmon, Common Persimmon

Family (Botanic):

Ebenaceae

Planting Considerations:

  • May be difficult to find in nurseries,
  • Messy fruit/plant parts

Ornamental Interest:

  • Spring blossoms,
  • Fall color,
  • Edible fruit,
  • Fragrant flowers,
  • Attractive bark

Season of Interest:

  • Early winter,
  • Mid winter,
  • Late winter,
  • Late spring,
  • Early summer,
  • Early fall,
  • Mid fall,
  • Late fall

Flower Color & Fragrance:

  • Fragrant,
  • White

Shape or Form:

  • Narrow,
  • Oval,
  • Round

Soil Preference:

  • Moist, well-drained soil

Growth Rate:

  • Slow

Acid Soils:

  • Tolerant

Transplants Well:

  • No

Alkaline Soils:

  • Tolerant

Wildlife:

  • Browsers,
  • Game birds,
  • Insect pollinators,
  • Small mammals,
  • Songbirds

Salt Spray:

  • Moderately Tolerant

Soil Salt:

  • Intolerant

More Information:

Form & Size

A medium to large size tree reaching 60 feet high.

Tree & Plant Care

Full sun in well drained soil. Tolerant of wide range of soil moisture and pH levels.
Tolerant of dry soil to low, swampy areas, but best in moderate to well-drained, fertile soil.
May be difficult to transplant due to a taproot.
Persimmon can sucker from the roots, increasing the maintenance of this tree.
This species has separate male and female trees; female trees produce edible fruit which can be messy

Disease, pests, and problems

No serious pests
Root suckering can be a management problem.

Disease, pest, and problem resistance

Tolerant of black walnut toxicity.

Native geographic location and habitat

Native to the southern United States up through southern Illinois.

Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana)
Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana)
photo: John Hagstrom

Bark color and texture 

Bark is rugged and deeply divided into small blocks.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Simple, alternate leaves with entire margins; 2 to 5 inches long.
Dark green in summer and yellow to reddish-purple in fall.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Male and female flowers on separate trees; both flowers small, creamy white and fragrant; urn-shaped; late spring into early summer.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Female tree produce orange  berries about 1 inch in diameter; fruit are attractive but messy; edible after frost.

Cultivars and their differences

Numerous cultivars in the market sold for fruit production.

Drought Conditions:

  • Tolerant

Poor Drainage:

  • Tolerant

Persimmon is a southeastern U.S. native tree that is easily recognized in winter by its unusual rugged, blocky bark. Female trees produce large orange-brown fleshy fruit that are edible after the first frost. Thick, dark green leaves turn a yellow fall color.  Native persimmon is not readily available in nurseries, but several selected cultivars are produced for their edible fruit.

Tree or Plant Type:

  • Tree

Foliage:

  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)

Native Locale:

  • Illinois,
  • North America

Planting Site:

  • Residential and parks,
  • City parkway,
  • Wide median

Landscape Uses:

  • Parkway/street,
  • Shade tree,
  • Specimen

Size Range:

  • Large tree (more than 40 feet),
  • Medium tree (25-40 feet)

Mature Height:

35 60 feet

Mature Width:

20-35 feet

Light Exposure:

  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

Hardiness Zones:

  • Zone 4,
  • Zone 5 (Chicago),
  • Zone 6,
  • Zone 7,
  • Zone 8,
  • Zone 9

Location of Diospyros virginiana (Persimmon) at the Arboretum