Diospyros virginiana

2023 – Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana)

Photo courtesy of Trees Atlanta

With long, pendulous branches, persimmon is a unique choice for the landscape. Although the dark green, ovate leaves complement the grayish, blocky, alligator-skin bark through the growing season, this tree really shines in fall when it bears bright orange leaves and small, apricot-colored fruits. Similar to the non-native persimmon fruits sold in the grocery store, these native persimmons are very sweet once ripe and are delicious fresh or can be baked into breads and other desserts. The fruits also attract a wide variety of wildlife including birds. Persimmon is a dioecious species, meaning that there are separate male and female trees. In order to produce fruits, the female must have a male pollinator nearby. It grows best in dry to medium soils in full sun to part shade. This tree reaches 35-60′ in height and spreads about 25-30′, but under less-than-ideal conditions can grow in a shrubby habit and reach only 15′.