Content Detail

Persimmon is a southeastern U.S. native tree that is easily recognized in winter by its unusual rugged, blocky bark. Female trees produce large orange-brown fleshy fruit that are edible after the first frost. Thick, dark green leaves turn a yellow fall color. Native persimmon is not readily available in nurseries, but several selected cultivars are produced for their edible fruit.

  • Family (English) Ebony
  • Family (botanic) Ebenaceae
  • Planting site City parkway, Residential and parks, Wide median
  • Tree or plant type Tree
  • Foliage Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
  • Native locale Illinois, North America
  • Size range Large tree (more than 40 feet), Medium tree (25-40 feet)
  • Mature height 35 60 feet
  • Mature width 20-35 feet
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 4, Zone 5 (Chicago), Zone 6, Zone 7, Zone 8, Zone 9
  • Soil preference Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, Clay soil, Dry sites, Occasional drought
  • Season of interest early fall, early summer, early winter, late fall, late spring, late winter, mid fall, midwinter
  • Flower color and fragrance Fragrant, White
  • Shape or form Narrow, Oval, Round
  • Growth rate Slow
  • Transplants well No
  • Planting considerations May be difficult to find in nurseries, Messy fruit/plant parts
  • Wildlife Browsers, Game birds, Insect pollinators, Small mammals, Songbirds
  • Has cultivars Yes

Form & Size:

A medium to large size tree reaching 60 feet high.

Native geographic location and habitat:

Native to the southern United States and up through southern Illinois.

Bark color and texture:

Bark is rugged and deeply divided into small blocks.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture:

Simple, alternate leaves with entire margins that are 2 to 5 inches long. Summer color is a dark green that turns yellow to reddish-purple in fall.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size:

Male and female flowers are on separate trees. Both types of flowers are small, creamy white, fragrant and urn-shaped. They appear late spring into early summer.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions:

Female trees produce orange berries that are about 1 inch in diameter and are attractive but messy. They are edible after frost.

Plant care:

Persimmons do best in full sun and moderate to well drained fertile soil, but they are tolerant of a wide range of soil moisture and pH levels. They will tolerate dry and swampy areas. May be difficult to transplant due to a deep taproot. Persimmon can sucker from the roots, increasing the maintenance of this tree. This species has separate male and female trees. Female trees produce edible fruit which can be messy.

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances:

No serious pests. Root suckering can be a management problem. Tolerant of black walnut toxicity.

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