TREES & plants


Persimmon fruit.

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.

Botanical name: 
Diospyros virginiana
All Common Names: 
Persimmon, Common Persimmon
Family (English): 
Family (Botanic): 
Tree or Plant Type: 
  • Tree
  • 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
Soil Preference: 
  • Moist, well-drained soil
Acid Soils: 
  • Tolerant
Alkaline Soils: 
  • Tolerant
Salt Spray: 
  • Moderately Tolerant
Soil Salt: 
  • Intolerant
Drought Conditions: 
  • Tolerant
Poor Drainage: 
  • Tolerant
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
Growth Rate: 
  • Slow
Transplants Well: 
  • No
  • Browsers, 
  • Game birds, 
  • Insect pollinators, 
  • Small mammals, 
  • Songbirds
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.

Diospyros virginiana or Persimmon