Persimmon

Botanical Name: Diospyros virginiana

Other Common Names: American Persimmon, Eastern Persimmon, Date Plum

Brief Description and Notes: A quintessential fall fruit. While the most commonly cultivated Persimmons are from Japan or China, we get particularly excited about the Persimmon native to our region. Quick to lose its alternate, oblong leaves in fall, which then makes spotting the fruit much easier. Fruits take 10-15 years to appear. Bark is distinctively dark and deeply furrowed. 

Where To Look For It: Very adaptable to soil quality and moisture; often found at edges of woods, fields, and abandoned pastures.  Tolerates sun to light shade. 

Ecological Value & Roles: Considered a pioneer species and can spread itself easily (eventually it’s replaced by larger canopy trees).  Feeds various bees and moths, and the fruits are loved by mammals and birds who help spread the seed. 

Edibility and Other Human Use: Excellent sweet fruit, which can be used raw or cooked/processed. 

 

Sources:

North Carolina Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox

Illinois Wildflowers

Photo by Katja Schulz