Persimmon Tree Identification

Overview

The persimmon is a fruit tree. The common persimmon is indigenous to the United States, while other varieties have been imported from China. It bears a small, sweet fruit with a flavor that cannot be compared to any other fruit.

Habitat

Persimmons grow in USDA Hardiness zones 4 through 8. The tree is commonly found in full sun, although it can tolerate partial shade. Persimmons are particularly tolerant of wet conditions and can found where soils are very moist such as in riverbanks or bottom land.

Tree

Persimmon trees generally grow to about 60 feet and can spread to 35 feet when fully mature. The trunk of the tree can grow to 2 feet in diameter and is covered with a grayish or black bark that is characteristically blocky, with orange color in between the blocks. The tree has an irregular outline and is roughly oval or pyramid shaped. The crown is moderately dense and the branches tend to droop toward the ground and are usually much smaller than the trunk.

Leaves

The leaves of persimmon trees can grow 4 to 8 inches long and 2 to 4 inches across. They are simple and oval in shape, with a pointed end and serrated edges. The growing season color is medium green, which changes to a showy display of reds and yellows in the fall. The tree is deciduous and drops its leaves in the winter.

Flowers

The flowers are small and relatively inconspicuous, measuring only about 1/2 inch in length. They range in color from light green to creamy white. Their form is somewhat bell-shaped, with four or five tiny, outwardly-curled petals. Persimmon flowers grow in clusters along the branches of the plant.

Fruit

The fruit is round, often with a slightly flattened appearance and between 1 and 3 inches in diameter. The color is usually a creamy yellow-orange to orange-red. Unripe fruit is very astringent, while the ripe fruit is very sweet and jelly-like in consistency with a slightly spicy flavor. The fruit is persistent on the tree and will remain long after the leaves have fallen for winter.

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About this Author

Located in Jacksonville, Fla, Frank Whittemore has been a writer and content strategist for over 15 years, providing corporate communications services to Fortune 500 companies. Whittemore writes on topics that stem from his fascination with nature, the environment, science, medicine and technology.