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Diospyros virginiana is often confused with:
Oxydendrum arboreum Oxydendrum arboreum leaves in the fall in Moore County
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Ilex verticillata ilex verticillata fruit and leaves
Quercus alba Full Form
Quercus phellos Quercus phellos

Possum Apples Diospyros virginiana

Phonetic Spelling
dy-OS-py-ros ver-jin-ee-AY-nah
Description

American Persimmon is a deciduous tree in the ebony family that is native to central and eastern USA and is found in all areas of NC.  It is slow-growing and thicket forming and can be a nuisance in fields. The trees are usually separate male and female and both are needed for fruiting to occur. Flowering is in spring to early summer with fruit ripening in the fall. A string of cool days is usually needed for maturation. The 1-2 inch fruits are orange and very sweet when ripe. They are a source of food for many types of birds and mammals.

Moist, well-drained sandy soils provide the best conditions for growth but the tree will tolerate hot, dry, poor soils and clay, including urban conditions. It blooms and fruits best in full sun to partial shade. A deep taproot makes it difficult to transplant.

Cultivars are available that may make a better tree for the home garden. However, the specimen can be grown as an ornamental and fruit tree or use in naturalized areas for wildlife.

Insects, Diseases, or Other Plant Problems:  Leaf spot may occur.

Quick ID Hints:

  • No terminal bud on branches
  • leaves-alternate, simple, elliptical, dark green
  • bark is checkerboard

 

 

Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#fragrant#deciduous#rain garden#wildlife plant#native tree#medicinal#berries#playground#food source#highly beneficial coastal plants#cpp#low flammability#NC native#foxes#black bears#deer resistant#children's garden#fire resistant#edible fruits#Braham Arboretum#fantz#food source fall#fruits#bird friendly#butterfly friendly
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#fragrant#deciduous#rain garden#wildlife plant#native tree#medicinal#berries#playground#food source#highly beneficial coastal plants#cpp#low flammability#NC native#foxes#black bears#deer resistant#children's garden#fire resistant#edible fruits#Braham Arboretum#fantz#food source fall#fruits#bird friendly#butterfly 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 wood is extremely hard and is used to make golf club heads, billiard cues and shoe lasts.
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Central and eastern U.S.A., NC
    Distribution:
    From Pennsylvania west to Nebraska south to Texas east Florida Utah and California
    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.
    Edibility:
    The fruit is astringent when green, but sweet when ripe and may be eaten raw. Used in syrups, jellies, ice cream and pies.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 30 ft. 0 in. - 80 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 20 ft. 0 in. - 35 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Tree
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Oval
    Pyramidal
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    24-60 feet
    more than 60 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    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:
    Yellowish to orange fruit on female trees in fall. Globular berry, 1 - 1 ½” long, yellowish/peach/pale orange, edible.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Orange
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Cyme
    Insignificant
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Bell
    Tubular
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Persimmons are usually dioecious (separate male and female trees) but some trees have perfect flowers. Fragrant, small, white to greenish-yellow flowers bloom in late spring, with the tubular male flowers appearing in clusters and the female flower appearing solitary and bell or urn-shaped with 4 recurved petals.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Purple/Lavender
    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 simple, alternate, ovate to elliptic or oblong with smooth edges or some serration. They are 2-6 inches long and 3/4-2 inches wide with an acuminate apex and rounded base. The lower surface usually lighter-colored and may have hairs, especially on young leaves. Stems are pubescent. The fall color is yellow to reddish-purple.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Fissured
    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 (cobbled).
  • 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:
    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
    Recreational Play Area
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Children's Garden
    Edible Garden
    Native Garden
    Rain Garden
    Design Feature:
    Flowering Tree
    Specimen
    Street Tree
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Fire
    Wind