The common persimmon is also known as the Eastern persimmon. Botanically, it is known as Diospyros virginiana. It is native to the United States and is a member of the Ebenaceae, or Ebony, family of plants. It is a low growing and shrubby tree.
Common Persimmon Description
This tree grows up to 15 feet high with large oval leaves and yellow bell-like flowers. The flowers are partially hidden. It grows in a spreading crown. Green leaves turn yellow-green in fall. There is large edible fruit that is orange. Trunks, when aged, are thick and dark gray-black, broken into scaly blocks. It is a deciduous tree.
The common persimmon prefers to grow in partial shade and in rich moist soil. It does fine in dry soil and acidic soils too. Propagate by root cuttings and by stratified seed. It may be grafted as any other fruit tree too. Seeds may need stratification, two to three months at 36 to 41 degrees. Germination is also improved by clipping the caps of the seed as well.
The persimmon fruit is an old favourite, sweet and tasting like dates. When it isn’t matured, it will have an astringent taste because of the tannin. Mature fruits are made into cakes, puddings, and some beverages.
Distribution of the Persimmon
This tree is found throughout Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and West Virginia.
This tree attracts birds and small mammals for the fruits and it is also a larval host plant for the Luna moth. It is also a browse for a variety of wildlife.
The fruits are ripe and sweet and were eaten by the indigenous people of the Southeast.
Source: NPIN, http://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=DIVI5