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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):


Planting Site:

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

Tree or Plant Type:

  • Tree


  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)

Native Locale:

  • Illinois,
  • North America

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


  • Dry sites,
  • Occasional drought,
  • Alkaline soil,
  • Clay 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

Seasons of Interest:

  • early winter,
  • midwinter,
  • 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.

Location of Diospyros virginiana (Persimmon) at the Arboretum