Persimmons are an often underestimated tree, producing delicious fruits, amazingly hard wood, and are an all around beautiful tree. Growing best in full sun to some partial shade, persimmons love dry and well drained soils and can tolerate drought, clay soil, shallow-rocky soil, and air pollution. Fragrant white to greenish white flowers appear in late spring with beautiful ovate leaves creating a splendor of color in the fall. The edible persimmons appear in the fall and may persist on the tree into late fall/early winter, Persimmon trees need both male and female trees for pollination, so it’s best to plant several trees for optimum fruiting.
Nothing quite compares to the taste of persimmon. Different from the persimmon you might buy from the grocery store (Asian persimmons), A true American Persimmon is an absolutely stunning flavor that is rich, deep, sweet and complex. A perfectly ripe persimmon from a quality tree can have a taste like caramel with hints of tangerine and heavy cream with a texture like a dense, rich custard. It somewhat recalls the flavor of dates and is eaten fresh or used to make puddings, cakes, and beverages. The fruits are also commonly used in syrups, jellies, ice creams or pies. Being an indegenous species, Native American people have gathered persimmons for thousands of years. They even made persimmon bread and ate the dried fruit like prunes. The word persimmon comes from the Algonquin people, and the genus name is Latin for “Fruit of the Gods”. The key to getting such delicious fruit is letting the fruit ripen completely (almost to the point of going bad). Not only uniquely delicious, persimmon fruits have a whole array of health benefits. They are full of Vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, and B-vitamins (especially vitamin B6), as well as dietary fiber, manganese, copper, magnesium, and potassium. Persimmon leaves have also traditionally been used to make teas.
Persimmon is a member of the ebony family, so its wood had many long lasting uses over the centuries. Principal uses of the wood have been for golf-club heads, shuttles for textile weaving, and furniture veneer.
In old fields, common persimmon is a low, shrubby tree, 15 ft. tall. In rich, moist soil the species becomes a large tree, up to 100 ft. tall, with a spreading crown and pendulous branches. Large, oval, mature leaves usually become yellow-green in fall. The large, orange, edible fruit attracts wildlife. On old trunks the bark is thick and dark-gray to almost black and broken into scaly, squarish blocks.
Common Names: American Persimmon, Common Persimmon, Eastern Persimmon, Possumwood, Date Plum, Winter Plum, Jove's Fruit
Latin Name: Diospyrus virginiana
Mature Size: Height: 35’ to 60’, Spread: 25’ to 35’
Native Range: Eastern and midwestern United States
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Dry to medium
Soil Type: very tolerant of different soil types but prefers sandy loam, compost rich, derived soils