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Diospyros virginiana

Object Details

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Smithsonian Gardens Tree Collection
On Display
National Museum of Natural History
Accession Number
2011-1044A
Description
The common name of Diospyros virginiana, persimmon, comes from the Powhatan language and means “a dry fruit.” The persimmon's “dry fruit” quality is most immediately noticed in the unripe, astringent fruit of the tree. While the green fruit and inner bark of the tree were once used to treat fever, diarrhea, and hemorrhage, persimmons are most enjoyable and useful for pies, jellies, and general eating once they have turned orange and been through a frost.
The persimmon tree is also notable for its bark. For the novice naturalist, identifying leafless trees in the winter can seem challenging. The persimmon, with its deeply grooved alligator bark and very straight trunk, is an excellent entry point for tree identification.
Threatened in New York and of Special Concern in Connecticut.
Hardiness
-30 - 30 F
Attracts
Butterflies; Luna Moth
Bloom Time
May to June
Ethnobotanical Uses
Wood is used for textile shuttles and golf clubs due to hard, smooth, and even texture. Fruits are used in puddings, cookies, cakes, custards, and sherbet. Seeds have been dried, roasted, and ground as a coffee substitute.
Medicinal / Pharmaceutical
Unripe fruit and inner bark have been used to treat fever, diarrhea, and hemorrhage.
Provenance
Uncertain
Topic
Trees
Living Collections
Range
C and E USA
Habitat
Moist, well-drained soil
Life Form
Deciduous tree
Average Height
35-60'
Bark Characteristics
Young: brown, gray, or reddish Mature: Dark gray, thick, and blocky
Bloom Characteristics
Male flowers grow in groups of 1-3, female flowers grow solitarily. Flowers are bell-shaped with 4 thick, backward curling lobes.
Dioecious
Yes. Some perfect flowers.
Fall Color
Yellow, red
Foliage Characteristics
Simple, alternate, serrated, and oval. Glossy and dark green above, lighter beneath. 4-8"
Fruit Characteristics
Round, 1-3", fleshy, and orange. Contains 1-8 flat, black seeds. Very astringent when green, edible when ripe in mid to late fall. May persist on tree in winter.
Structure
Rounded oval
Data Source
Smithsonian Gardens
Common Name
Persimmon
American Date Plum
American Persimmon
American Ebony
Possum Wood
White Ebony
Bara-bara
Boa-wood
Butterwood
Common Persimmon
Virginian Date Plum
Group
[vascular plants]
Class
Equisetopsida
Subclass
Magnoliidae
Superorder
Asteranae
Order
Ericales
Family
Ebenaceae
Genus
Diospyros
Species
virginiana
Restrictions & Rights
Usage conditions apply
GUID
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ax7c580c3a0-7622-45c5-8299-a4993867ede8
Record ID
ofeo-sg_2011-1044A
Photographed by: Hannele Lahti
Photographed by: Hannele Lahti
Photographed by: Hannele Lahti
Photographed by: Hannele Lahti
Photographed by: Hannele Lahti
Photographed by: Hannele Lahti
Photographed by: Hannele Lahti
Photographed by: Hannele Lahti
Photographed by: Hannele Lahti
Photographed by: Hannele Lahti
Photographed by: Hannele Lahti
Photographed by: Hannele Lahti
Photographed by: Hannele Lahti
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