Diospyros virginiana

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: persimmon 
Type: Tree
Family: Ebenaceae
Native Range: Eastern and midwestern United States
Zone: 4 to 9
Height: 35.00 to 60.00 feet
Spread: 25.00 to 35.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Description: White to greenish yellow
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Rain Garden
Flower: Insignificant
Attracts: Birds
Fruit: Showy, Edible
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Drought, Clay Soil, Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil, Black Walnut, Air Pollution


Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Somewhat wide range of soil tolerance, but prefers moist, sandy soils. Drought tolerant. Promptly remove root suckers unless naturalized effect is desired. Female trees need a male pollinator in order to set fruit.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Diospyros virginiana, commonly called persimmon or American persimmon, is deciduous tree with a rounded oval crown that grows to 35-60’ tall. It is native from Connecticut to Kansas south to Florida and Texas. In Missouri, it typically occurs in rocky or dry open woods, limestone glades, prairies, thickets, abandoned fields and along roadsides (Steyermark). It is one of the easiest trees to identify in winter because of its distinctive thick, dark gray bark that is broken into rectangular blocks. Ovate to elliptic leaves (2-6” long) are glossy dark green above, and turn yellowish-green (infrequently reddish purple) in autumn. Fragrant, white to greenish-yellow flowers bloom in late spring, with the male flowers appearing in clusters and the female flowers appearing solitary. Plants are usually dioecious (separate male and female trees), but some trees have perfect flowers. Fruits are 1-2" in diameter and round to slightly flattened or oblong in shape. They mature in fall to an orange to reddish-purple color, and may persist on the tree into winter. The fruits are attractive to birds and other wildlife.

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

Specific epithet means of Virginia.


No serious insect or disease problems. Leaf spot may occur.


Ornamental landscape tree that produces an edible food crop. Persimmon fruit is quite astringent when green, but upon ripening becomes sweet and may be eaten off the tree. Fruits are commonly used in syrups, jellies, ice creams or pies. Ripe fruits are too soft for shipping/sale. Persimmon leaves can be used to make teas. Persimmon is a member of the ebony family. The wood is extremely hard and has been used to make golf club heads, billiard cues and shoe lasts.