The American persimmon produces astringent fruit, meaning that it bears fruit that is very sour and not edible until it becomes ripe and soft after several winter frosts. The trunk of the tree is a dark brown color, and is related to ebony trees. American persimmon are hardy trees that produce not only fruit but wood that is routinely used to make sports equipment, including golf clubs.
The scientific name for an American persimmon tree is Diospyros virginiana.
The American persimmon originated in the eastern seaboard of the United States. Trees are most often found from New York, south to Florida. American persimmons can also grow in areas of the midwest, from Kansas to Texas, according to The University of Arkansas.
At full height, an American persimmon can be as large as 50 or 60 feet tall. Most grow to several feet thick, but trunks have been known to reach as many as 25 feet in width.
American persimmons grow well in climates that offer full or partial sun. The tree is drought tolerant, according to the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture.
Gender and Fruit
American persimmon trees are dioecious, or of two genders, both male and female. Female trees must be pollinated by male trees to bear fruit. Ripe, sweet persimmon fruit can be enjoyed fresh, preserved through canning or drying processes, or made into jam.
Old wives' tale legends suggest that the formation of the seeds inside the persimmon fruit can predict the type of winter that is forthcoming. A fork shape indicates fluffy snow, a knife shape signifies a brutally cold and windy winter, and seeds in a spoon pattern predict a winter filled with wet snow.
- University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, persimmons
- University of Illinois Extension, American persimmons
Diospyros virginiana, astringent fruit, ripen
About this Author
Erica Roth was a college reference librarian for 8 years, and has been a freelance writer since 2007. Roth graduated with honors from Brandeis University with a Bachelor of Arts in French Literature, and earned an Master of Library Science from Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science. Roth is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.