dcsimg

Common Names

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common persimmon
persimmon
simmon
possumwood
eastern persimmon
Florida persimmon
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Coladonato, Milo 1992. Diospyros virginiana. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Description

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More info for the terms: dioecious, fruit, tree

Common persimmon is a slow-growing, thicket-forming, dioecious,
deciduous tree up to 70 feet (21 m) but generally less than 40 feet (12
m) tall [8].  It has a rounded or conical crown with the branches
spreading at right angles.  The twigs are self-pruning and form an
irregular shaped crown.  The leaves are simple, alternate, entire, and
elliptical to oblong.  The fruit is a persistent spherical berry; each
berry contains one to eight flat seeds [10,13,31].
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Coladonato, Milo 1992. Diospyros virginiana. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Distribution

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More info for the term: forest

Common persimmon is distributed from southern Connecticut and Long
Island, New York to southern Florida.  Inland it occurs in central
Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, and central Illinois to
southeastern Iowa; and southeastern Kansas and Oklahoma to the Valley of
the Colorado River in Texas.  It does not grow in the main range of the
Appalachian Mountains, nor in much of the oak-hickory forest type of the
Allegheny Plateau [8,12,15].
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Coladonato, Milo 1992. Diospyros virginiana. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Fire Ecology

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More info for the terms: fire regime, root crown

Common persimmon is well adapted to fire.  It sprouts readily from the
roots and root crown when aboveground portions are killed by fire
[2,14,15].

FIRE REGIMES :
Find fire regime information for the plant communities in which this
species may occur by entering the species name in the FEIS home page under
"Find FIRE REGIMES".
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Coladonato, Milo 1992. Diospyros virginiana. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Fire Management Considerations

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More info for the term: fire exclusion

Periodic fires have been useful in controlling common persimmon by
preventing it from reaching the overstory in southern pine forests.
However, common persimmon is known to decrease with fire exclusion [18].
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Coladonato, Milo 1992. Diospyros virginiana. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Growth Form (according to Raunkiær Life-form classification)

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More info on this topic.

More info for the term: phanerophyte

  
Phanerophyte
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Coladonato, Milo 1992. Diospyros virginiana. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Habitat characteristics

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More info for the terms: shrubs, swamp, tree

Common persimmon grows on a wide variety of sites but grows best on
terraces of large streams and river bottoms.  It grows best on alluvial
soils such as clays and heavy loams.  In the Mississippi Delta, usual
sites are wet flats, shallow sloughs, and swamp margins.  In the Midwest
it grows on poorly drained upland sites, but growth there is very slow
[6,17,20,23].

Common overstory associates not listed under Distribution and Occurrence
include eastern redcedar (Juniperus virginiana), sugar maple (Acer
saccharum), yellow-poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera),, boxelder (Acer
negundo), red maple (A. rubrum), sycamore (Platanus occidentalis), and
cedar elm (Ulmus crassifolia).  Common shrubs and noncommercial tree
associates include swamp-privet (Forestiera acuminata), rough-leaf
dogwood (Cornus drummondii), hawthorns (Crataegus spp.), water-elm
(Planera acquatica), shining sumac (Rhus copallina), and smooth sumac
(R. glabra) [6,15,26].
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Coladonato, Milo 1992. Diospyros virginiana. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Habitat: Cover Types

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This species is known to occur in association with the following cover types (as classified by the Society of American Foresters):

More info for the term: hardwood

    64  Sassafras - persimmon
    70  Longleaf pine
    72  Southern scrub oak
    80  Loblolly pine - shortleaf pine
    81  Loblolly pine
    82  Loblolly pine - hardwood
    83  Longleaf pine - slash pine
    84  Slash pine
    92  Sweetgum - willow oak
    93  Sugarberry - American elm - green ash
    96  Overcup oak - water hickory
   101  Baldcypress
   102  Baldscypress - tupelo
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Coladonato, Milo 1992. Diospyros virginiana. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Habitat: Ecosystem

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This species is known to occur in the following ecosystem types (as named by the U.S. Forest Service in their Forest and Range Ecosystem [FRES] Type classification):

   FRES12  Longleaf - slash pine
   FRES13  Loblolly - shortleaf pine
   FRES14  Oak - pine
   FRES15  Oak - hickory
   FRES16  Oak - gum - cypress
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Coladonato, Milo 1992. Diospyros virginiana. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Habitat: Plant Associations

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This species is known to occur in association with the following plant community types (as classified by Küchler 1964):

More info for the term: forest

   KO89  Black Belt
   K090  Live oak - sea oats
   K100  Oak - hickory forest
   K104  Appalachian oak forest
   K111  Oak - hickory - pine forest
   K112  Southern mixed forest
   K113  Southern floodplain forest
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Coladonato, Milo 1992. Diospyros virginiana. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Immediate Effect of Fire

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More info for the term: top-kill

Common persimmon in southern pine forests can be killed by severe fires
that char the soil and kill the roots and rootstocks.  Less severe fires
top-kill the plant [18].
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Coladonato, Milo 1992. Diospyros virginiana. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Importance to Livestock and Wildlife

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More info for the term: fruit

In Indiana and Ohio, the leaves and twigs of common persimmon are an
important supplementary fall and winter food for white-tailed deer
[29,34].  The fruit is an important food for squirrel, fox, coyote,
racoon, opossum, and quail [7,22].  Hogs relish the fruit of common
persimmon, but it is of little value to other livestock and is
considered a nuisance [15].
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Coladonato, Milo 1992. Diospyros virginiana. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Key Plant Community Associations

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Common persimmon is found in many plant associations, but it is not an
indicator of any particular habitat [6,33].
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Coladonato, Milo 1992. Diospyros virginiana. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Life Form

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More info for the term: tree

Tree
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Coladonato, Milo 1992. Diospyros virginiana. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Management considerations

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More info for the term: tree

Dense thickets of common persimmon are considered a nuisance in open
fields and pastures.  On abandoned fields, where persimmon is an
invader, it is classed as a weed species because it fails to reach
commercial size [5].  Common persimmon is easily defoliated with a 20
percent solution of Garlon 4 but will sprout readily from the stems and
roots after treatment.  Treatment is most effective in May when leaves
are fully expanded [4,19,27].

Damaging agents:  The principal defoliators of common persimmom are the
webworm (Seiarctica echo) and the hickory horned devil (Citheronia
regalis).  The fungus Cephalosporium diospyri causes persimmon wilt and
kills many trees in the Southeast.  The disease is characterized by a
wilting of the leaves followed by defoliation and death of the branches
from the top down.  An infected tree lives 1 or 2 years after the
wilting appears.  Diseased trees should be burned, and bruises on
healthy tree should be covered with pitch or wax to prevent entry by
wind-borne spores [15,30].
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bibliographic citation
Coladonato, Milo 1992. Diospyros virginiana. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Nutritional Value

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The seeds and fruits of common persimmon are generally low in crude
protein, crude fat, and calcim, but high in nitrogen-free extract and
tannin [3,15].
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Coladonato, Milo 1992. Diospyros virginiana. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Occurrence in North America

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     AL  AR  CT  DE  FL  GA  IL  KS  KY  LA
     MD  MS  MO  NJ  NC  OH  OK  PA  SC  TN
     TX  VA  WV
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Coladonato, Milo 1992. Diospyros virginiana. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Other uses and values

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More info for the term: fruit

The unripe fruit and inner bark of common persimmon are sometimes used
in the treatment of fever, diarrhea, and hemorrhage.  Indelible ink can
also be made from the fruit.  Common persimmon is sometimes planted as
an ornamental; the flowers are used in the production of honey [30,36].
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Coladonato, Milo 1992. Diospyros virginiana. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Phenology

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More info for the term: fruit

The flowers of common persimmon bloom from March to June; its fruit
ripens from September to November [30].
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Coladonato, Milo 1992. Diospyros virginiana. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Plant Response to Fire

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More info for the term: density

Common persimmon sprouts vigorously following fire [15].  After a summer
and winter burn in Oklahoma, common persimmon stem density increases in
postfire year 1 were as follows [1]:

          Species density (stem/ha)

summer burn                     late-winter burn

preburn   postburn              preburn    postburn
  542       750                   17         583
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Coladonato, Milo 1992. Diospyros virginiana. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Post-fire Regeneration

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More info for the terms: root sucker, soboliferous, tree

   Tree with adventitious-bud rootcrown/ soboliferous species root sucker
   Initial-offsite colonizer (offsite, initial community)
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Coladonato, Milo 1992. Diospyros virginiana. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Regeneration Processes

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More info for the terms: fruit, root collar, seed

Common persimmon reproduces vegetatively and by seed.  The optimum
fruit-bearing age is 25 to 50 years, but 10-year-old trees sometimes
bear fruit.  Good seed crops are borne every 2 years, with light crops
in intervening years [28,30].  The seed is disseminated by birds and
animals that feed on the fruits, and to some extent, by overflow water
in low bottomlands [15].

Vegetative Reproduction:  Common persimmon will sprout from the stump or
develop from root suckers.  Sprouting from the root collar is common
after fire or cutting [36].
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Coladonato, Milo 1992. Diospyros virginiana. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Successional Status

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Obligate Initial Community Species.

Common persimmon is very tolerant of shade.  It can persist in the
understory for many years.  Its response to release is not definitely
known but probably not very good.  Common persimmon competes very well
with almost any plant under harsh conditions.
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bibliographic citation
Coladonato, Milo 1992. Diospyros virginiana. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Taxonomy

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The scientific name for common persimmon is Diospyros virginiana L.
[13]. Varieties include [10,24,36]:

D. virginiana L. var. virginiana - typical common persimmon
D. virginiana var. pubescens (Pursch) Dipp. - fuzzy common persimmon
D. virginiana var. platycarpa Sarg. - Oklahoma common persimmon
D. virginiana var. mosieri (Small) Sarg. - Florida persimmon
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Coladonato, Milo 1992. Diospyros virginiana. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Value for rehabilitation of disturbed sites

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More info for the term: seed

Common persimmon sends down a deep taproot which makes it a good species
for erosion control.  It is, however, difficult to transplant [15].
Propagation is by seed stratified at 41 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit (5-10
deg C) for 365 days and sown in the spring.  Germination is about 80
percent.  Root cuttings 6 to 8 inches (15-20 cm) long and 1/3 inch (0.85
cm) in diameter can also be used provided the ends are sealed with pitch
or wax to prevent rot [36].
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Coladonato, Milo 1992. Diospyros virginiana. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Wood Products Value

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The wood of common persimmon is hard, smooth, and even textured.  It is
used for turnery, plane stocks, veneer, golf club heads, and
occasionally low-grade lumber [8,36].
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Coladonato, Milo 1992. Diospyros virginiana. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Associated Forest Cover

provided by Silvics of North America
Common persimmon is a key species in the forest cover type Sassafras-Persimmon (Society of American Foresters Type 64) (3) and is an associated species in the following cover types: Southern Scrub Oak (Type 72), Loblolly Pine-Shortleaf Pine (Type 80), Loblolly Pine-Hardwood (Type 82), Sweetgum-Willow Oak (Type 92), Sugarberry-American Elm-Green Ash (Type 93), Overcup Oak-Water Hickory (Type 96), Baldcypress (Type 101), and Baldcypress-Tupelo (Type 102).

Common associates are elms (Ulmus spp.), eastern redcedar (Juniperus virginiana), hickories (Carya spp.), sugar maple (Acer saccharum), yellow-poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera), oaks Quercus spp.), boxelder (Acer negundo), red maple (A. rubrum), sycamore (Platanus occidentalis), and cedar elm (Ulmus crassifolia).

Common shrub and noncommercial tree associates include swamp-privet (Forestiera acuminata), roughleaf dogwood (Cornus drummondii), hawthorns (Crataegus spp.), water-elm (Planera aquatica), shining sumac (Rhus copallina), and smooth sumac (R. glabra).

In the alluvial bottoms of the Lower Wabash Valley, waterlocust (Gleditsia aquatica) and common buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis) are close associates.

The Sassafras-Persimmon type is temporary and usually replaced with mixed hardwood types.

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Climate

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Common persimmon grows in a humid climate throughout its range. Its best commercial development is in areas that receive an average of 1220 mm (48 in) of precipitation annually, about 460 mm (18 in) of which normally occurs duping the growing season. Over the range of persimmon, the average maximum temperatures are 35° C (95° F) in the summer and -12° C (10° F) in the winter.

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Damaging Agents

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A number of insects attack persimmon but normally do no serious harm (9). A bark and phloem borer (Agrilus fuscipennis) infests living persimmon and the persimmon borer (Sannina uroceriformis) tunnels in the stems and taproots of young trees and damages nursery stock. Caterpillars may defoliate the trees in early summer and into mid summer. The principal defoliators are a webworm (Seiarctica echo) and the hickory horned devil (Citheronia regalis). Unless sprayed, they may defoliate and severely damage a young plant. No serious damage to the merchantable part of living trees is recorded. The twig girdler (Oncideres cingulata) retards growth by cutting off smaller branches. The wood of dying and dead trees is often riddled by the false powderpost beetle (Xylobiops basilaris).

Cephalosporium diospyri causes persimmon wilt, a fungus disease that kills many trees in central Tennessee and the Southeastern States (1). The disease is characterized by a sudden wilting of the leaves, followed by defoliation and death of the branches from the top down. An infected tree often lives 1 or 2 years after this symptom appears. Diseased trees should be burned, and cuts and bruises on other trees should be painted to prevent entry by wind-borne spores. No disease-resistant trees have been found. A wound is necessary for primary infection. The hickory twig girdler and powderpost beetle cause the majority of wounds in healthy trees. As soon as the tree dies, the fungus produces spores in large quantities between the bark and the wood near the base of the tree.

Because common persimmon is often considered noxious in pastures and fields, much effort has been expended in its control and eradication (2). It is easily defoliated with 2,4,5-T at 1.1 kg/ha (1 lb/acre) or less but sprouts readily from both stem and roots after treatment. Treatment is most effective in May when leaves are fully expanded. Additives (Ethephon, MAA, and TIBA) increase both the defoliation and kill of persimmon. Surfactants increase effectiveness of 2,4,5-T. Picloram in combination with 2,4,5-T, and dicamba, alone and in combination with 2,4,5-T, has also given good control. Soil application of picloram and dicamba at 6.7 kg/ha (6 lb/acre) gave kills of 75 and 70 percent, respectively. Complete top kill was possible by injecting undiluted solutions of dicamba or mixtures of 2,4,5-T and dicamba.

Tordon 101 or Esteron 99 at 7.6 liters (2 gal) plus triclopyr at 9.4 liters/ha (1 gal/acre) and Tordon at 37 liters/ha (4 gal/acre) gave 100 percent control of persimmon (4).

Undiluted 2,4-D dimethylamine killed persimmon when applied in 1- or 2-ml (0.03- or 0.07-oz) dosages in injections placed edge-to-edge up to 23 cm (9 in) apart around the stem (11). A 4-to-1 mixture of triisoproponolamine salts of 2,4-D plus picloram was also effective.

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Flowering, Seed Production, and Dissemination

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The inconspicuous flowers bloom from March to June within its botanical range and from April through May in areas where it grows best. Staminate flowers are in two- or three-flowered cymes, tubular, 8 to 13 mm (0.3 to 0.5 in) long, and greenish yellow.

Pistillate flowers are solitary, sessile or shortpeduncled, about 1.9 cm (0.75 in) long. The corolla is fragrant with 4 or 5 greenish yellow, thick recurved lobes.

Common persimmon is dioecious; the staminate and pistillate flowers are borne on separate trees on shoots of the current year, when the leaves are more than half grown.

The fruit is a persistent spherical berry 1.9 to 5.1 cm (0.8 to 2.0 in) in diameter. It ripens from September to November or occasionally a little earlier. When mature it is yellow to orange or dark red in color, often with a glaucous bloom. Each berry usually contains one to eight flat, brown seeds about 13 mm (0.5 in) long but is sometimes seedless. Fruits fall from September to late winter.

The optimum fruit-bearing age is 25 to 50 years, but 10-year-old trees sometimes bear fruit. Good crops are borne about every 2 years under normal conditions. About 45 kg (100 lb) of fruit yields 4.5 to 13.6 kg (10 to 30 lb) of clean seed, with an average of 2,640 seeds per kg (1,200 seeds per lb). The seed is disseminated by birds and animals that feed on the fruits, and, to some extent, by overflow water in low bottom lands (9). The seeds remain dormant during winter and germinate in April or May, after about a month of soil temperatures above 15° C (60° F).

Persimmon is easily raised from seed, and if planting is to be done with seeds, they should be cleaned and spread out for drying for a day or two and then stratified under moist conditions for 2 to 3 months at 1° to 4° C (33° to 40° F). They should be soaked 2 to 3 days before planting. Seeds lose their viability through extremes of heat, cold, or drying. They should be planted in spring or fall in shallow drills in light soils with plenty of humus and covered to a depth of about 13 min (0.5 in).

No insects or animals are known to damage flowers or fruit seriously. Late freeze can damage the flowers and cause premature fruit drop.

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Genetics

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Varieties of the common persimmon are the fuzzy common persimmon (D. virginiana var. pubescens (Pursh) Dipp.); Oklahoma common persimmon (D. uirginiana var. platycarpa Sarg.); and Florida persimmon (D. uirginiana var. mosieri (Small) Sarg.) (7).

Hybrids have been reported between D. uirginiana, D. kaki, and D. lotus (14).

Several cultivars, selected primarily for fruit color, taste, size, and early maturation, have been chosen from wild populations (8).

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Growth and Yield

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The growth rate of persimmon is generally slow (9). On dry, old-field sites it frequently makes only a shrubby growth 4.6 to 6.1 m (15 to 20 ft) tall. On poor sites the larger trees contain a high percentage of heartwood that cannot be used for lumber because it checks excessively during seasoning.

Approximately 50 percent of the total radial growth is complete in 70 to 90 days, and 90 percent complete in 100 to 109 days after growth starts in the spring (6). Persimmon responds well to fertilizer.

The species normally attains a height of 9 to 18 m (30 to 60 ft) at maturity but in optimum habitats may reach a height of 21 to 24 rn (70 to 80 ft) and a diameter of 51 to 61 cm (20 to 24 in). It usually forms an upright or drooping type tree with a rounded or conical crown. Stems may be clumped, either because seedlings develop in close proximity to one another or because they arise from suckers after a tree has been cut down. The leaves are deciduous, simple, alternate, and entire. The bark is brown to black, fissures are deep, and ridges are broken into rectangular checkered sections.

Per acre volume figures for this species are not available because it usually grows as scattered individuals.

Tops of orchard grown trees should be thinned to allow for better fruit production.

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Reaction to Competition

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Persimmon is classed as very tolerant of shade. It can persist in the understory for many years (9). Its response to release is not definitely known but is probably not especially good. Persimmon competes with almost any plant under harsh growing conditions.

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Rooting Habit

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No information available.

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Seedling Development

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Persimmon is very tolerant, and natural reproduction can normally be expected in the forest understory. It is often prolific in openings. Germination is epigeal. The seedlings develop a strong taproot and after their first year are about 20 cm (8 in) tall or even taller on good sites. Prolonged flooding or submergence during the growing season will kill young trees; however, seedlings usually survive under very adverse conditions.

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Soils and Topography

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Common persimmon grows in a tremendous range of conditions from very dry, sterile, sandy woodlands to river bottoms to rocky hillsides and moist or very dry locations. It thrives on almost any type of soil but is most frequently found growing on soils of the orders Alfisols, Ultisols, Entisols, and Inceptisols.

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Special Uses

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The wood is heavy, hard, strong, and very close grained. The average number of rings is 5.5 per cm (14 per in) (12). Specific gravity of light-brown sapwood is 0.79; a 0.028 m³ (1.0 ft³ ) block weighs about 22 kg (49 lb). Because of its hardness, smoothness, and even texture, it is particularly desirable for turnery, plane stocks, shoe lasts, shuttles, and golf club heads.

Persimmon is sometimes planted for its edible fruit. Dried fruit is added to baked goods and occasionally is fermented with hops, cornmeal, or wheat bran into a sort of beer. The dried, roasted, ground seeds have been used as a substitute for coffee.

Several cultivars are available with improved fruit size and quality. In native persimmon areas, top working or grafting on suckers is a good way to get superior cultivars into bearing quickly. One staminate tree seems sufficient to pollinate at least 23 pistillate trees of the same race (8). The pulp is very astringent when not ripe, but after a frost in the fall, when the fruit turns yellow orange, the flesh is pleasing in taste (12). The fruit is eaten by many species of song birds, also by the skunk, raccoon, opossum, gray and fox squirrels, white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, bobwhite, crows, rabbits, hogs, and cattle (5). It may, however, cause sickness in livestock. Deer browse readily on persimmon sprouts, but cattle graze them only lightly.

Seeds and fruits are generally low in crude protein, crude fat, and calcium but high in nitrogen-free extract and tannin (13).

The inner bark and unripe fruit are sometimes used in treatment of fevers, diarrhea, and hemorrhage. Indelible ink is made from fruit.

Persimmon is valued as an ornamental because of its hardiness, adaptability to a wide range of soils and climates, its lustrous leaves, its abundant crop of fruits, and its immunity from disease and insects. It has been introduced into Europe.

The tree is suitable for erosion control on deeper soils because of its deep root system, but this same characteristic makes it difficult to plant.

Persimmon is considered a woody weed in unimproved pastures, and it prevents many areas from being grazed effectively. Inoculation of persimmon stumps with a fungus (Cephalosporium diospyri) was found to be an effective means of preventing subsequent sprouting.

Persimmon flowers are useful in the production of honey.

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Vegetative Reproduction

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Persimmon may be propagated by root cuttings and grafting (10). Root cuttings 15 to 20 cm (6 to 8 in) long and 8 mm (0.3 in) in diameter can be used provided the ends are sealed with pitch or wax to prevent rot. Older twigs may be used similarly. They can be buried in sand until ready to plant (15).

Trees may be grafted by chip budding, cleft grafting, or whip grafting. Nursery stock should be set about 15 cm (6 in) apart and root pruned each year. Stock 1 to 2 years old may be transplanted, but this should be done in moist deep soil because of the deep root system (15).

Stumps sprout readily and thickets of shrubby persimmon develop from root suckers. Sprouting from the root collar after fires is common. Seedlings or suckers are difficult to transplant.

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Distribution

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Common persimmon is found from southern Connecticut and Long Island to southern Florida; westward through central Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, and central Illinois to southeast Iowa; and south through eastern Kansas and Oklahoma to the Valley of the Colorado River in Texas. It does not grow, however, in the main range of the Appalachian Mountains, nor in much of the oak-hickory forest type on the Allegheny Plateau. Its best development is in the rich bottom lands of the Mississippi River and its tributaries and in coastal river valleys (9). It is exceedingly common in the South Atlantic and Gulf States, often covering abandoned fields with a shrubby growth, and springing up by the sides of roads and fences. It is often the first tree species to start growth on abandoned and denuded cropland. It is well adapted to an environment of high insolation and low water supply.


-The native range of common perssimon.


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Brief Summary

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Ebenaceae -- Ebony family

Lowell K. Halls

Common persimmon (Diospyros virginiana), also called simmon, possumwood, and Florida persimmon, is a slow-growing tree of moderate size found on a wide variety of soils and sites. Best growth is in the bottom lands of the Mississippi River Valley. The wood is close grained and sometimes used for special products requiring hardness and strength. Persimmon is much better known for its fruits, however. They are enjoyed by people as well as many species of wildlife for food. The glossy leathery leaves make the persimmon tree a nice one for landscaping, but it is not easily transplanted because of the taproot.

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Diospyros virginiana

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Diospyros virginiana is a persimmon species commonly called the American persimmon,[1] common persimmon,[2] eastern persimmon, simmon, possumwood, possum apples,[3] or sugar plum.[4] It ranges from southern Connecticut/Long Island to Florida, and west to Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Iowa. The tree grows wild but has been cultivated for its fruit and wood since prehistoric times by Native Americans.

Diospyros virginiana grows to 20 m (66 ft), in well-drained soil. In summer, this species produces fragrant flowers which are dioecious, so one must have both male and female plants to obtain fruit. Most cultivars are parthenocarpic (setting seedless fruit without pollination). The flowers are pollinated by insects and wind. Fruiting typically begins when the tree is about 6 years old.

The fruit is round or oval and usually orange-yellow, sometimes bluish, and from 2 to 6 cm (34 to 2 14 in) in diameter. In the U.S. South and Midwest, the fruits are referred to as simply persimmons or "'simmons", and are popular in desserts and cuisine.

Commercial varieties include the very productive Early Golden, the productive John Rick, Miller, Woolbright and the Ennis, a seedless variety. Another nickname of the American persimmon, 'date-plum' also refers to a persimmon species found in South Asia, Diospyros lotus.

Description

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American persimmon tree bearing fruit in the fall
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Flower
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Bark

The plant itself is a small tree usually 30 to 80 feet (9 to 24 m) in height, with a short, slender trunk and spreading, often pendulous branches, which form a broad or narrow, round-topped canopy. The roots are thick, fleshy and stoloniferous. This species has a shrubby growth form.[5] This plant has oval entire leaves, and unisexual flowers on short stalks. In the male flowers, which are numerous, the stamens are sixteen in number and arranged in pairs; the female flowers are solitary, with traces of stamens, and a smooth ovary with one ovule in each of the eight cells—the ovary is surmounted by four styles, which are hairy at the base. The fruit-stalk is very short, bearing a subglobose fruit an inch in diameter or a bit larger, of an orange-yellow color, ranging to bluish, and with a sweetish astringent pulp. It is surrounded at the base by the persistent calyx-lobes, which increase in size as the fruit ripens. The astringency renders the fruit somewhat unpalatable, but after it has been subjected to the action of frost, or has become partially rotted or "bletted" like a medlar, its flavor is improved.[6]

  • Bark: Dark brown or dark gray, deeply divided into plates whose surface is scaly. Branchlets slender, zigzag, with thick pith or large pith cavity; at first light reddish brown and pubescent. They vary in color from light brown to ashy gray and finally become reddish brown, the bark somewhat broken by longitudinal fissures. Astringent and bitter.
  • Wood: Very dark; sapwood yellowish white; heavy, hard, strong and very close grained. Specific gravity, 0.7908; weight of cubic foot, 49.28 lb (22.35 kg). The heartwood is a true ebony. Forestry texts indicate that about a century of growth is required before a tree will produce a commercially viable yield of ebony wood.
  • Winter buds: Ovate, acute, one-eighth of an inch long, covered with thick reddish or purple scales. These scales are sometimes persistent at the base of the branchlets.
  • Leaves: Alternate, simple, four to six inches (152 mm) long, oval, narrowed or rounded or cordate at base, entire, acute or acuminate. They come out of the bud revolute, thin, pale, reddish green, downy with ciliate margins, when full grown are thick, dark green, shining above, pale and often pubescent beneath. In autumn they sometimes turn orange or scarlet, sometimes fall without change of color. Midrib broad and flat, primary veins opposite and conspicuous. Petioles stout, pubescent, one-half to an inch in length.
  • Flowers: May, June, when leaves are half-grown; diœcious or rarely polygamous. Staminate flowers borne in two to three-flowered cymes; the pedicels downy and bearing two minute bracts. Pistillate flowers solitary, usually on separate trees, their pedicels short, recurved, and bearing two bractlets.
  • Calyx: Usually four-lobed, accrescent under the fruit.
  • Corolla: Greenish yellow or creamy white, tubular, four-lobed; lobes imbricate in bud.
  • Stamens: Sixteen, inserted on the corolla, in staminate flowers in two rows. Filaments short, slender, slightly hairy; anthers oblong, introrse, two-celled, cells opening longitudinally. In pistillate flowers the stamens are eight with aborted anthers, rarely these stamens are perfect.
  • Pistil: Ovary superior, conical, ultimately eight-celled; styles four, slender, spreading; stigma two-lobed.
  • Fruit: A juicy berry containing one to eight seeds, crowned with the remnants of the style and seated in the enlarged calyx; depressed-globular, pale orange color, often red-cheeked; with slight bloom, turning yellowish brown after freezing. Flesh astringent while green, sweet and luscious when ripe.[5]

Distribution

The tree is very common in the South Atlantic and Gulf states, and attains its largest size in the basin of the Mississippi River.[6] Its habitat is southern, it appears along the coast from Connecticut to Florida; west of the Alleghenies it is found in southern Ohio and along through southeastern Iowa and southern Missouri; when it reaches Louisiana, eastern Kansas and Oklahoma it becomes a mighty tree, one hundred fifteen feet high.[5]

Its fossil remains have been found in Miocene rocks of Greenland and Alaska and in Cretaceous formations in Nebraska.[5]

Diospyros virginiana is believed to be an evolutionary remnant that was consumed by the megafauna that roamed the North American continent until 10,000 years ago and would have eaten the fruit, assisting in its dispersal. A 2015 study supports the notion that elephants would have been a more effective disperser of the seeds than living North American mammals.[7]

Ecology and uses

The fruit is eaten by birds, raccoons, skunks, white-tailed deer, semi-wild hogs, flying squirrels, and opossums.[8]

The peculiar characteristics of its fruit have made the tree well known. This fruit is a globular berry, with variation in the number of seeds, sometimes with eight and sometimes without any. It bears at its apex the remnants of the styles and sits in the enlarged and persistent calyx. It ripens in late autumn, is pale orange with a red cheek, often covered with a slight glaucous bloom. One joke among Southerners is to induce strangers to taste unripe persimmon fruit, as its very astringent bitterness is shocking to those unfamiliar with it. The peculiar astringency of the fruit is due to the presence of a tannin similar to that of cinchona. The seeds were used as buttons during the American Civil War.[9]

The fruit is high in vitamin C. The unripe fruit is extremely astringent. The ripe fruit may be eaten raw, cooked or dried. Molasses can be made from the fruit pulp. A tea can be made from the leaves and the roasted seed is used as a coffee substitute. Other popular uses include desserts such as persimmon pie, persimmon pudding, or persimmon candy.

The fruit is also fermented with hops, cornmeal or wheat bran into a sort of beer[10] or made into brandy. The wood is heavy, strong and very close-grained and used in woodturning.[6]

Cultivation

The tree prefers light, sandy, well-drained soil, but will grow in rich, southern, bottom lands.[5]

The tree is greatly inclined to vary in the character and quality of its fruit, in size this varies from that of a large cherry to a small apple. Some trees in the south produce fruit that is delicious without the action of the frost, while adjoining trees produce fruit that never becomes edible.[5]

It was brought to England before 1629 and is cultivated, but rarely if ever ripens its fruit. It is easily raised from seed and can also be propagated from stolons, which are often produced in great quantity. The tree is hardy in the south of England and in the Channel Islands.[6]

In respect to the power of making heartwood, the persimmon rarely develops any heartwood until it is nearly one hundred years old. This heartwood is extremely close-grained and almost black, resembling ebony (of which it is a true variety).[5][11]

It is a common misconception persimmon fruit needs frost to ripen and soften, called bletting. Some, such as the early-ripening varieties "pieper" and "NC21"(also known as "supersweet"), easily lose astringency and become completely free of it when slightly soft at the touch—these are then very sweet, even in the British climate. On the other hand, some varieties (like the very large fruited "yates", which is a late ripening variety) remain astringent even when the fruit has become completely soft (at least in the British climate). Frost, however, destroys the cells within the fruit, causing it to rot instead of ripen. Only completely ripe and soft fruit can stand some frost; it will then dry and become even sweeter (hence the misconception). The same goes for the Oriental persimmon (Diospyros kaki), where early frost can severely damage a fruit crop.

References

  1. ^ a b "Diospyros virginiana". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 16 December 2017.
  2. ^ "Diospyros virginiana". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA.
  3. ^ Karp, David (2000-11-08). "Know Your Persimmons". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 12 November 2017.
  4. ^ Phillips, Jan (1979). Wild Edibles of Missouri. Jefferson City, Missouri: Missouri Department of Conservation. p. 40.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Keeler, Harriet L. (1900). Our Native Trees and How to Identify Them. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. pp. 195–199.
  6. ^ a b c d  src= One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Persimmon". Encyclopædia Britannica. 21 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 252.
  7. ^ Boone, Madison J.; Davis, Charli N.; Klasek, Laura; Del Sol, Jillian F.; Roehm, Katherine; Moran, Matthew D. (2015). "A Test of Potential Pleistocene Mammal Seed Dispersal in Anachronistic Fruits using Extant Ecological and Physiological Analogs". Southeastern Naturalist. 14: 22–32. doi:10.1656/058.014.0109.
  8. ^ Peattie, Donald Culross (1953). A Natural History of Western Trees. New York: Bonanza Books. p. 682.
  9. ^ Dodge, David (1886). "Domestic Economy in the Confederacy". The Atlantic Monthly. 58 (August): 229–241.
  10. ^ "Persimmon Ale". Bloomington Brewing Company. Retrieved 2017-11-07.
  11. ^ The ebony of commerce is derived from five different tropical species of the genus, two from India and one each from Africa, Malaya and Mauritius. The beautiful variegated coromandel wood is the product of a species found in Ceylon.

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Diospyros virginiana: Brief Summary

provided by wikipedia EN

Diospyros virginiana is a persimmon species commonly called the American persimmon, common persimmon, eastern persimmon, simmon, possumwood, possum apples, or sugar plum. It ranges from southern Connecticut/Long Island to Florida, and west to Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Iowa. The tree grows wild but has been cultivated for its fruit and wood since prehistoric times by Native Americans.

Diospyros virginiana grows to 20 m (66 ft), in well-drained soil. In summer, this species produces fragrant flowers which are dioecious, so one must have both male and female plants to obtain fruit. Most cultivars are parthenocarpic (setting seedless fruit without pollination). The flowers are pollinated by insects and wind. Fruiting typically begins when the tree is about 6 years old.

The fruit is round or oval and usually orange-yellow, sometimes bluish, and from 2 to 6 cm (3⁄4 to 2 1⁄4 in) in diameter. In the U.S. South and Midwest, the fruits are referred to as simply persimmons or "'simmons", and are popular in desserts and cuisine.

Commercial varieties include the very productive Early Golden, the productive John Rick, Miller, Woolbright and the Ennis, a seedless variety. Another nickname of the American persimmon, 'date-plum' also refers to a persimmon species found in South Asia, Diospyros lotus.

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