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Diospyros virginiana 'Killen'

Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
dee-oh-SPR-os vir-jin-ee-AY-uh
Description

'Killen' is a small to medium-sized cultivar in the Ebenaceae family whose parent plant is native to central and eastern United States. It is beautiful, delicious and easy to grow, and offers year-round interest in the landscape.  Only one tree is needed as it is self-pollinating.  The orange fruits are often free of blemishes and are exceptionally sweet once ripe.  The tree is moderately productive.

'Killen' is a cold-hardy tree easily grown in full sun with a pH of 6.0 to 7.0 in moist to well-drained soil.  It is also adaptable to many varieties of soil and is wind tolerant. 'Killen' typically grows to 25’ tall. The Common persimmon prefers moist, sandy soils but is tolerant of a variety of soils including poor, dry ones.  It is drought tolerant once established. 

It has superior ornamental qualities. Dark green foliage is attractive throughout the growing season before turning excellent shades of red in the fall. The orange fruits, which begin to ripen in the fall, are approximately 1" in diameter with firm skin.  Fruits are commonly used in syrups, jellies, ice creams or pies. Persimmon leaves can be used to make teas. The wood is extremely hard and has been used to make golf club heads, billiard cues and shoe lasts.

It can be grown as an ornamental or fruit tree in the home landscape, or in naturalized areas for wildlife. Thus, it can be placed in many types of gardens: a butterfly, children's, native, nighttime, pollinator, or rain garden.  With spectacular autumn foliage and fruit that extends the harvest late into the fall, they are an excellent addition to an edible landscape.  They do produce root suckers.  Remove promptly unless a naturalized effect is wanted.

Insects, Diseases, or Other Plant Problems: Leaf spot may occur.  Fruit drop can be messy.

VIDEO Created by Elisabeth Meyer for "Edibles, Bulbs, and Houseplants" a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens.   

More information on Diospyros virginiana.

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Tags:
#hardy#deciduous#full sun tolerant#drought tolerant#interesting bark#wildlife plant#fall interest#showy fruits#messy#cpp#wind tolerant#fire low flammability#deer browsing plant#deer resistant#edible fruits#pollinator plant#edible garden#edible tree#orange fruits#messy fruits#food source fall#bee friendly
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#hardy#deciduous#full sun tolerant#drought tolerant#interesting bark#wildlife plant#fall interest#showy fruits#messy#cpp#wind tolerant#fire low flammability#deer browsing plant#deer resistant#edible fruits#pollinator plant#edible garden#edible tree#orange fruits#messy fruits#food source fall#bee friendly
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Diospyros
    Species:
    virginiana
    Family:
    Ebenaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    The inner bark and unripe fruit has been used in the treatment of fevers, diarrhea, and hemorrhage, indelible ink made from fruit, flowers used for honey. The fruit was used for food and medicinal purposes by Native Americans. The heartwood is nearly black, extremely hard and is used to make golf club heads, billiard cues and shoe lasts.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Woody
    Fire Risk Rating:
    low flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    The fruit of the persimmon is a food source for birds, small mammals, white-tailed deer, foxes, raccoons, and black bears. Deer browse the leaves and twigs.
    Play Value:
    Edible fruit
    Fragrance
    Wildlife Food Source
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Resistant to fire in landscape. This tree is moderately deer resistant. Drought tolerant once established. Wind tolerant.
    Edibility:
    The fruit is used in syrups, jellies, ice creams or pies. They can be eaten raw or dried. Persimmon leaves can be used to make teas.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 20 ft. 0 in. - 25 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 20 ft. 0 in. - 25 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Edible
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Oval
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    5a, 5b, 6b, 6a, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Orange
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Fruit Length:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Width:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Description:
    Medium-sized, orange fruit with firm texture and good flavor. No blemishes on skin.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Insignificant
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Bell
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    fused petals
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    The flower is greenish yellow in color and not showy.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Oblong
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Leaves are broadly oblong and pointed with smooth edges or some serration. They are 2 to 6 inches long and 2 to 3 inches wide with an acuminate apex and rounded base. The lower surface is usually lighter-colored and may have hairs, especially on young leaves. Leaves have a broad mid-rib with dark veins on the underside. Great red foliage in fall.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Black
    Dark Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Furrowed
    Bark Plate Shape:
    Square
    Bark Description:
    It is one of the easiest trees to identify in winter because of its distinctive thick, dark grey bark that is divided by furrows into square blocks resembling a checkerboard, sometimes referred to as "alligator bark."
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gray/Silver
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Bud Scales:
    Enclosed in 2 scales
    Stem Form:
    Zig Zags
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    Stems are pubescent. Buds are single, sessile, 2 overlapping scales, 1/4" long, dark reddish - almost black, no terminal bud. Branchlets slender, zigzag, at first light reddish-brown and pubescent. They vary in color from light brown to ashy gray.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Lawn
    Meadow
    Naturalized Area
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Children's Garden
    Edible Garden
    Nighttime Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Rain Garden
    Design Feature:
    Flowering Tree
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Pollinators
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer