Illustration of persimmon leaves, branch, fruit.
Safety Concerns
Scientific Name
Diospyros virginiana
Ebenaceae (ebonies)

Persimmon is a medium-sized tree, varying in size and shape with growing conditions.

Leaves are alternate, simple, 2–6 inches long, 1–3 inches wide, broadest at the middle; margin lacking teeth; upper surface pale green, shiny; lower surface paler, smooth to somewhat hairy. Somewhat leathery.

Bark is distinctive: dark brown to black, grooves deep, ridges broken into thick, square to rectangular blocks, resembling alligator hide.

Twigs are slender, gray to reddish-brown, somewhat zigzag; pores orange; end bud absent.

Flowers late May–June, with male and female flowers on separate trees. Male flowers in clusters of 2–3, greenish-yellow, urn-shaped; female flowers solitary, urn-shaped with tips curved back, greenish-yellow to creamy white, fragrant.

Fruits September–October. Fruit orange to orange-purple, about ¾–1½ inches long and wide, globe-shaped; sweet, edible when ripe. Prior to ripening, astringent and puckery to taste.

Height: to 60 feet; to 30 feet in open-grown situations, where it has a shorter trunk.
Where To Find
image of Persimmon distribution map
Statewide, except for northwestern counties.
Occurs in rocky, dry, open woods, edges of woods, glades, prairies, old fields, thickets, bottomland woods, and valleys along streams. It is generally not recommended in urban landscapes, despite its many good qualities; it is difficult to transplant, it has a tendency to sucker, and the fallen fruit can be messy.
Native Americans, explorers, settlers, and others have all enjoyed the edible fruit. The fruits are notoriously astringent if they are eaten unripe. The dried leaves can be made into tea. The wood is used for golf club heads, textile shuttles, billiard cues, and brush handles.
A very important wildlife food. Fruit, buds, and leaves are eaten by deer, opossum, squirrel, bobwhite, raccoon, wild turkey, red and gray fox, and coyote. Many birds eat the fruit. A pioneering tree in disturbed landscapes, it plays an important role in reestablishing a mature ecosystem.
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Similar Species

Where to See Species

Compton Hollow Conservation Area is located in Webster County. Visitors can access this 840-acre area from Compton Hollow Road, where two parking lots are located about 0.75 mile apart.
The 286 acres comprising Rinquelin Trail Lake Conservation Area were acquired by the Conservation Department through five separate transactions between 1982 and 1990.
Seventy-Six Conservation Area is located in eastern Perry County, at the end of Route D, approximately four miles northeast of Brazeau.
About Trees, Shrubs and Woody Vines in Missouri
There are no sharp dividing lines between trees, shrubs, and woody vines, or even between woody and nonwoody plants. “Wood” is a type of tissue made of cellulose and lignin that many plants develop as they mature — whether they are “woody” or not. Trees are woody plants over 13 feet tall with a single trunk. Shrubs are less than 13 feet tall, with multiple stems. Vines require support or else sprawl over the ground.