Florida Forestry Information
Ebenaceae
The Ebony Family
 
The ebony family includes 7 genera with about 300 species of plants.  This plants of this family grow primarily in tropical or subtropical habitats, and are widely distributed in Africa and the Malay peninsula.  The genus Diospyros includes the only plants that grow in the United States.  One of the species of this genus is native to Florida. 

 Click on the links below for an introduction to a tree of this family:
 
common persimmon
 
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Diospyros virginiana 
common persimmon 
 
Habit 

The common persimmon is a tree, 40-60 feet in height and 1-2 feet in diameter.  Several large, wide-spreading branches form a low, dense, rounded crown.  The branches usually start 10-20 feet above the ground and are slender and zig-zagging, forming a broad, rounded, open crown.  Toward the limits of its range, it is a shrub. 
 
Leaves 

Leaves are simple, alternate, and deciduous.  The leaves are 4-6 inches long, 2-3 inches wide, and are oval in shape, with an acute apex.  The leaf base is wedge-shaped or rounded.  Leaf margins are entire and somewhat wavy.   The leaf surfaces are dark green, leathery, glabrous above, paler below.  Leaf petioles are stout, 1 inch long. 
 
Flowers 
 
The flowers are dioecious, and hang from the twig. 
 
Fruit 
 
Fruit is an orange to reddish-purple, several-seeded berry.  This fruit is edible and sweet after ripening, and is 1.5 inches in diameter.  The seeds are oblong, flattened, with rounded ends and a wrinkly coat. 
 
Twigs 

The twigs are slender, glabrous or pubescent, somewhat zig-zagging.  The pith is  homogeneous or diaphragmed. 
 
Bark 

The bark is gray-brown to nearly black, up to 1 inch thick and broken into square-like, scaly blocks, separated by narrow, deep fissures.  It may resemble alligator skin. 
 
Habitat 

The common persimmon grows on deep, rich bottomlands or on higher, sandy, well-drained soils.  It is usually found in association with many other hardwoods.  It is found from southern Connecticut and Long Island south to southern Florida; west through central Pennsylvania to southeastern Iowa, south to Texas. 
 
Use 

This wood of the common persimmon has been used for mallets and wooden golf club heads.  The fruit is edible and is sometimes used in making wine.  The bark is the source of an astringent compound (medicinal compound used to check for discharge of blood or mucus). 
 

Click on the links below to see more information on and/or images of this tree (use the "Back" function to return here):
 
Query the USDA Plant Database
 

 
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