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Species Guide
All text and photographs © 1996,1997
Thomas W. Kimmerer

Family: Ebenaceae
Genera: Diospyros
The following species are discussed in this guide:
common persimmon Diospyros virginiana

Speci common persimmonDiospyros virginiana
Species Name of Virginia
Sites and Soils Persimmon occurs from bottomlands to dry ridges, but is most common in oldfields and bottoms.
Ecology Persimmon occurs on a very wide variety of sites. It is shade tolerant but does not become established in late-successional forests. It may form pure stands in oldfields, but is more common as scattered trees or clumps mixed with a wide variety of hardwood. Best development is on river terraces, or well-drained alluvial bottoms.
Life History Persimmon flowers in late spring, and fruits ripen in late fall, around the time of first frost. Fruits are eaten by a wide variety of birds and mammals, which disperse seeds. Seeds germinate the following spring, or enter the seed bank and germinate in subsequent years. Persimmon is a prolific stump and root sprouting species, and thickets may be partially or entirely clonal. Persimmon is a fast growing species on alluvial bottoms, but very slow on upland oldfields. It probably lives for no more than 200 years. Typical large trees on bottoms are 50'x1' (Champion 131'x2.1'), but trees on upland sites rarely exceed 30'x6".
Interactions Persimmons are important wildlife species, both for their fruit and as browse. Probably VA mycorrhizal. Pollinators are unknown insects.
Status Common, stable
Range Southern 1/2 of Eastern Deciduous Forest
Kentucky status Common, stable
Kentucky range Entire state
Uses Persimmon is in the ebony family, and has the hard, black heartwood characteristic of the family. Its most important use is for golf club heads. It is occasionally used for furniture or veneer, but trees of adequate volume are uncommon.
Ornamental use A lovely ornamental, provided that the landowner is willing to tolerate the rather messy fruits. The beautiful black, blocky bark makes persimmon worth the work of transplanting, which is made difficult by the deep taproot.
Notes

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