Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana and other species)

Persimmon treePersimmon tree flowerThe common persimmon trees (also known as American Persimmon, Eastern Persimmon, Simmon, Possumwood, and Sugar Plum) is a small tree (30-60 feet) with a short, skinny trunk and a round shaped top.  Its bark is dark brown or dark gray and divided into plates with a scaly surface.  They have alternate, dark green, elliptic leaves with entire margins that grow to 4-6 inches long and will likely be shiny, dark green on top and pale green underneath. Its fragrant flowers are inconspicuous with male flowers having 16 stamens arranged in pairs and female flowers having only traces of stamens. The fruits grow off of a very short stalk are round or oval, usually orange-yellow (ranging to bluish), about 1-3 inches in diameter, and have a sticky consistency, with 1-8 seeds per fruit.

Persimmon treeWhere to Find: The persimmon is a common forest margin tree. It is wide spread in Africa, eastern North America (particularly the South Atlantic and Gulf states), and the Far East.  They prefer light, sandy, well-drained soil.

Edible Parts: Persimmon fruit is strongly astringent.  The leaves are a good source of vitamin C. The fruits are edible raw, cooked, or dried. To make tea, dry the leaves and soak them in hot water. You can eat the roasted seeds or use as a coffee substitute.

Note: Some persons are unable to digest persimmon pulp. Unripe persimmons are highly astringent (tends to shrink or constrict body parts) and inedible.

Green, unripe Persimmon fruit on tree

Ripe Persimmon fruit

Riping Persimmon fruit hanging from tree

Persimmon leaf

Distinct Persimmon tree bark

Color drawing showing birds eating Persimmon fruit

Persimmon tree samples including branch and underside of leaf

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