Persimmon trees (Diospyros spp.) are stately fruiting trees found around the world. The common persimmon (D. virginiana) is native to the United States and found growing on the edges of forests, along roadsides, in old fields and in forest clearings along the eastern seaboard and westward to Missouri. Thriving in moist bottom lands, the persimmon tree is also widely planted in landscapes for a variety of purposes, but mainly for its edible fruits.
The persimmon tree is most commonly grown for its fruits, juicy berries that are about 1 ½ to 3 ½ inches in diameter and grow in clusters. The persimmon fruits have pale yellow, orange or reddish skins with orange flesh and have a sour taste when they first ripen in early fall. After the first frost, the persimmon fruits develop a sweeter taste. Persimmon fruits are eaten fresh or used in making baked goods like pies and breads, as well as made into jams. The fruits are also stored by freezing or drying like prunes, and the leaves can be steeped to make teas.
Shade or Ornamental Tree
The persimmon tree is also planted in landscapes as an ornamental tree or to provide shade. Due to its fragrant, bell-shaped white flowers that appear in spring, as well as its glossy, attractive leaves, the persimmon tree makes an attractive ornamental landscape tree. The persimmon tree's 60 to 70 foot height and rounded or cylindrical crown with dense branches provide deep to dappled shade. The leaves are oval and 4 to 7 inches long, growing profusely from branchlets and blocking out sunlight beneath the tree. The leaves also turn vibrant yellow in fall.
The persimmon tree has close-grained, hard and strong wood that's often used in making billiard cues, golf club heads and weaving shuttles. The persimmon tree's wood is also sometimes used to make flooring and woodworking veneers.