Diospyros virginiana -American Persimmon Tree
Botanical Name: Diospyros virginiana
Alternate Name: Common Persimmon Tree
The Common Persimmon or American Persimmon tree is an oval or rounded deciduous tree that grows to reach a height of 35-60 feet with a spread of 25-35 feet. It is native to the eastern United States.
Persimmons usually only produce male or female flowers (dioecious), but there are some trees that have flowers with both male and female parts (perfect flowers) for easy cross pollination. Female trees will need a male planted nearby in order to produce fruit.
The American Persimmon tree has distinctive and attractive bark that enhances its winter silhouette, particularly in mature specimens. The deeply ridged, gray bark is made up of small, rectangular patches with white highlights.
The flowers of the American Persimmon develop in late spring or early summer. They are greenish-white and very fragrant. The male flowers are clustered together, and the female flowers are solitary. The leaves are very distinctive – glossy, deep green, and ovate, approximately 2-6 inches in length. They turn bright yellow and orange in the fall.
The persimmon fruit develop in the fall from the pollinated female or perfect flowers. They are approximately 1-2 inches in diameter and light green, ripening to a rich orange, similar to the fall leaf color. The fruits persist on the tree after the leaves start to fall. They can be eaten raw or used to make baked goods or jams.
The American Persimmon tree is a good choice for a fruit tree that is also ornamental and has seasonal interest. This tree integrates well into Pacific Northwest landscapes, combined with maples and conifers. They also work well at the edge of rain gardens. These trees are somewhat drought tolerant once established.