Index of Species Information

SPECIES:  Diospyros virginiana


SPECIES: Diospyros virginiana
AUTHORSHIP AND 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: [].
ABBREVIATION : DIOVIR SYNONYMS : NO-ENTRY SCS PLANT CODE : DIVI5 COMMON NAMES : common persimmon persimmon simmon possumwood eastern persimmon Florida persimmon TAXONOMY : 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 LIFE FORM : Tree FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : No special status OTHER STATUS : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Diospyros virginiana
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : 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]. ECOSYSTEMS :    FRES12  Longleaf - slash pine    FRES13  Loblolly - shortleaf pine    FRES14  Oak - pine    FRES15  Oak - hickory    FRES16  Oak - gum - cypress STATES :      AL  AR  CT  DE  FL  GA  IL  KS  KY  LA      MD  MS  MO  NJ  NC  OH  OK  PA  SC  TN      TX  VA  WV BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS : NO-ENTRY KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS :    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 SAF COVER TYPES :     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 SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES : NO-ENTRY HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES : Common persimmon is found in many plant associations, but it is not an indicator of any particular habitat [6,33].


SPECIES: Diospyros virginiana
WOOD PRODUCTS VALUE : 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]. IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE : 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]. PALATABILITY : NO-ENTRY NUTRITIONAL VALUE : 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]. COVER VALUE : NO-ENTRY VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES : 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]. OTHER USES AND VALUES : 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]. OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : 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].


SPECIES: Diospyros virginiana
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS : 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]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM :    Phanerophyte REGENERATION PROCESSES : 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]. SITE CHARACTERISTICS : 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]. SUCCESSIONAL STATUS : 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. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT : The flowers of common persimmon bloom from March to June; its fruit ripens from September to November [30].


SPECIES: Diospyros virginiana
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS : 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]. POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY :    Tree with adventitious-bud rootcrown/ soboliferous species root sucker    Initial-offsite colonizer (offsite, initial community)


SPECIES: Diospyros virginiana
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT : 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]. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT : NO-ENTRY PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE : 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 DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE : NO-ENTRY FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : 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].


SPECIES: Diospyros virginiana
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