Diospyros virginiana: Common Persimmon

Latin name: Diospyros virginiana
Common name: Common Persimmon
Flowers: Insignificant 13, white to green/yellow solitary flowers from May to June 12
Fruit or cones: Round, fleshy, orange berry in mid to late fall, ripens after frost 12,15
Height & Width: 35-60’ H x 25-35’ W 12
Type: Deciduous 13
Habit: Rounded, oval crown 12, pyramidal or columnar 13
Wetland indicator category**: FAC 17
Texture: Medium 13
Growth rate: Slow 13
Light: Full sun to part-shade 12
Moisture: Medium water usage, dry soil tolerant 10
Soil*: Sandy, sandy loam, medium loam, clay, acid-based, calcareous, various pH and moisture level tolerated 10
Zones: 4-9 12
Origin: Southeast United States, ranging from Connecticut to Florida, and westward to Texas 16
Ecosystem benefits: Supplies food for squirrels/mammals 15, pollinators, and birds 13

photo-a_diospyros-virginiana_tharp-1647612415838.jpg
Image 1
photo-b_diospyros-virginiana_tharp-1647612437782.jpg
Image 2

Features: This species is known for its showy fall color, sweet, bright orange berry fruit for human consumption, and very strong wood. It is valuable to include in the landscape due to its attractiveness to wildlife as a food source of flowers and fruit 12,15.

Siting: Persimmon trees often show up in meadows or woodland environments and can be utilized in lawns. It is crucial to plant far away from sidewalks, as the dropped fruit can cause a slipping hazard. They make an excellent addition to pollinator or edible gardens, as they attract bees, butterflies, songbirds, and small mammals 13. Both male and female trees need to be present if the fruit is desired, as the tree is dioecious 15.

Care: Plant so root flare is visible at soil surface 14. At planting, water the root ball daily with two gallons of water per inch of trunk diameter for two weeks, every other day for two months, and then weekly until established. Modify water recommendations to reflect site drainage and rainfall. Apply 3” of mulch over the planted area. Do not allow mulch to touch the trunk 14. Minimal pruning and fertilization are required 6.

Pests: Susceptible to scale, persimmon psyllid, leaf rolling and defoliating caterpillars, and persimmon borer. Additionally, fungal leaf spot, twig dieback, and powdery mildew can be possible disease issues 5.

This plant does not appear on the following invasive plant lists on 2/15/22:
USDA SC Invasive Plant Species
SC Exotic Plant Pest Council

Author: Courney Tharp

Image source:
A) https://www.gardenia.net/plant/diospyros-virginiana
B)  https://www.alamy.com/close-up-of-bark-of-american-persimmon-tree-or-diospyros-virginiana-old-tree-bark-texture-image363615731.html

Sources:

  1. Armitage, A. (2001). Armitage’s manual of annuals, biennials, and half-hardy perennials. Portland, OR: Timber Press.
  2. Armitage, A. (2006). Armitage’s native plants for North American gardens. Portland, Oregon: Timber Press.
  3. Armitage, A. (2008). Herbaceous perennial plants: A treatise on their identification, culture, and garden attributes. Athens, GA: University of Georgia.
  4. Clemson Cooperative Extension Home and Garden Information Center.(2011). Flowers fact sheets. Retrieved from http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/plants/landscape/ flowers/
  5. Clemson Cooperative Extension Home and Garden Information Center.(2011). Groundcovers & vines fact sheets. Retrieved from http://www.clemson.edu/ extension/hgic/plants/landscape/groundcovers/
  6. Clemson Cooperative Extension Home and Garden Information Center.(2011). Trees. Retrieved from http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/ plants/landscape/trees/
  7. Clemson Cooperative Extension Home and Garden Information Center.(2011). Shrubs. Retrieved from http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/plants/landscape/shrubs/
  8. Dirr, M. A. (2009). Manual of woody landscape plants. Champaign, IL: Stipes Publishing.
  9. Gilman, E. F. (1997). Trees for urban and suburban landscapes. Albany, NY: Delmar Publishers.
  10. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center University of Texas at Austin. (2012). Native plant information network. Retrieved from http://www.wildflower.org/explore/
  11. McMillan, P., Plant taxonomist Clemson University, personal communication.
  12. Missouri Botanical Garden Kemper Center for Home Gardening. Plant finder. Retrieved from http://www.mobot.org/gardeninghelp/plantfinder/Alpha.asp
  13. North Carolina State University (2005). Plant fact sheets. Retrieved from http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/consumer/factsheets/index.html
  14. Strother, E. V., Ham, D. L., Gilland, L. (2003) Urban tree species guide: Choosing the right tree for the right place.  Columbia, SC: South Carolina Forestry Commission.
  15. University of Florida, IFAS Extension. (2011). Southern trees fact sheet. Retrieved from http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/department_envhort-trees
  16. USDA . Plant profile. (n/d).Retrieved from http://plants.usda.gov/java/
  17. USDA. Plant wetland indicator status. (n/d). Retrieved from http://plants.usda.gov/wetland.html
  18. Vincent, E., Environmental horticulturist Clemson University, personal communication.
  19. Clemson Extension. Carolina Yards Plant Database. Retrieved from https://www.clemson.edu/extension/carolinayards/plant-database/index.htm

*Soil pH is determined using a professional soil test. Contact your Clemson University County Extension service for assistance www.clemson.edu/extension/. Click on “local offices”.

**2012 Plant Wetland Indicator categories (quantitative derived) http://plants.usda.gov/wetinfo.html

Plant Wetland Indicator categories
Indicator Code Indicator Status Comment
OBL Obligate Wetland Almost always is a hydrophyte, rarely in uplands
FACW Facultative Wetland Usually is a hydrophyte but occasionally found in uplands
FAC Facultative Commonly occurs as either a hydrophyte or non-hydrophyte
FACU Facultative Upland Occasionally is a hydrophyte but usually occurs in uplands
UPL Obligate Upland Rarely is a hydrophyte, almost always in uplands