Diospyros kaki
Common Name: kaki 
Type: Tree
Family: Ebenaceae
Native Range: Eastern Asia
Zone: 7 to 10
Height: 20.00 to 30.00 feet
Spread: 20.00 to 30.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Description: Creamy white (female)Pink (male)
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Fragrant, Insignificant
Leaf: Good Fall
Fruit: Showy, Edible
Other: Winter Interest

Culture

Winter hardy to USDA Zones 7-10 (but best in Zones 8-10) where it is typically grown in deep, moist, slightly acidic, well-drained loams in full sun. Somewhat wide range of soil tolerance, but prefers moist, sandy soils. Drought tolerant. Promptly remove root suckers unless naturalized effect is desired.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Diospyros kaki, commonly called kaki, Japanese persimmon or Oriental persimmon, is a deciduous tree with a rounded spreading crown that typically grows to 20-30’ tall. Outer branches may droop. This tree is noted not only for its edible fruits but also for its excellent ornamental features. Cultivars of this tree produce the persimmons sold in supermarkets today. Kaki is native to India, Burma, China and Korea, and is widely cultivated in Japan. Oval to obovate leaves (to 6" long) emerge yellowish-green in spring, mature to glossy green in summer and turn gold to red in fall. Trees are usually dioecious (separate male and female trees), but some trees have both male and female flowers and in some cases also some perfect flowers. Notwithstanding the flower types, trees are parthenocarpic (may set seedless fruit without pollination). Fragrant, non-showy flowers bloom in late spring, with the creamy-white female flowers appearing solitary and the pink-toned male flowers appearing in clusters of three. Edible persimmon fruits (to 3-4" diameter) mature to bright orange in late fall, and may persist on the tree into winter. Fruits are particularly noticeable and attractive when hanging on a tree after leaf drop. Fruits are classified as astringent or non-astringent. Fruits are commonly sliced or eaten whole. Flesh may be added to salads, pancakes, cookies, jellies, jams, marmalades, syrups, puddings, ice creams or pies. Persimmon leaves can be used to make teas.

Genus name comes from the Greek dios meaning divine and pyros meaning wheat or grain for this divine fruit.

Specific epithet is the Japanese name for Diospyros kaki.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Scale and mealybug may need to be controlled. Leaf spot may occur. Falling fruit can cause litter problems.

Garden Uses

Ornamental landscape tree that produces an edible food crop. May be pruned as a hedge, screen or espalier. Trees which produce fruit should be planted in locations removed from vehicular or foot traffic.