Diospyros virginiana

common persimmon, eastern persimmon


Leaf Arrangement


Leaf Attachment


Leaf Margin


Leaf Type


Leaf Shape

oblong, elliptic, lanceolate, ovate

Growth Form


Flower Color

white, yellow

Flower Month

April - October

Height (meters)


Milky Sap








Leaf Retention


Wetland Class


Wetland Coefficient of Conservatism


Field Characters

A small tree with alternate, simple leaves having pale green undersides. Its bark has a distinctive alligator bark pattern (very dark and blocky), its buds are triangular and dark brown and its leaves, petioles and twigs are covered with flattened, matted hairs. There are yellow veins in leaf. Often with tiny leaves present. Branches at a 45 degree angle. Look alike: Nyssa sylvatica- branches at a 90 degree angle, leaves shiny, and occasional leaf has a tooth on the edge. If you cut into the bark of Persimmon, it turns yellow within a minute.

Animal Use

This information for genus Diospyros. Animals that eat the fruit: Wild turkey, Catbird, Mockingbird, Robin, Yellow-breasted sapsucker, Myrtle warbler, Cedar waxwing, Ring-tailed cat, Gray fox, Red fox, Opossum, Raccoon, Hog-nosed skunk, Texan red wolf, White-tailed deer (Martin et al. 1951).

Natural History

Found thriving on almost any type of soil from sands to shales and mud bottomlands. It is generally restricted to the southeastern United States. It ranges from the gulf states to Iowa and Connecticut but its best zone seems to be from Maryland, Virginia, and the Carolinas, westward through Missouri and Arkansas. In Texas it is found as far west as the valley of the Colorado River. Called "plaqueminier" by the Acadians of south Louisiana. The name comes from the Illinois Indian name for persimmon "piakimin". The fruit from plaqueminier is called plaquemine, also the name of both a city and a parish in Louisiana (Holmes 1990). the fruit was eaten by the Comanches of Texas (Newcomb 1961). The fruit is very good when ripe but very astringent when green. Early settlers mixed the fruit with meal to make bread, a custom probably learned from the Indians (Medsger 1966). The Acadians still make persimmon bread but usually use Japanese persimmons (Diospyros kaki). The seeds have been used as a coffee substitute, and Indians made flour from dried persimmons. The wood is hard and dark much like ebony to which it is closely related.


Dryish woods, old fields, clearings, pinelands, fresh water or moist woodlands.

Plant Uses

Persimmon wood is very heavy, very hard, very strong, and resistant to bending. It is difficult to work with tools, does not glue well, and has considerable shrinkage when drying. Persimmon is high in shock resistance and in nail-holding properties. It smooths well, and stays in place well after seasoning. It is not highly resistant to decay. Is valued for use in bobbins, shuttles, golf-club heads, and spools. It is also used for boxes and crates, and to a limited extent for handles.