Trees of Alabama and the Southeast

Lisa Samuelson, Ph.D.
School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences
Auburn University

Diospyros virginiana

Leaves are simple, alternate, deciduous, oval to elliptical in shape, 2-6 inches long, and without teeth on the leaf margin. Twigs are dark with orange lenticels and black lateral buds with two overlapping scales. Lateral buds look like snakeheads to some observers. Old bud scales remain attached at branch junctions. Leaf scars have only one bundle scar. Bark is black and blocky like an "alligator hide". Fruit is a pulpy edible berry. Trees are dioecious so some trees will never bear fruit. Form is up to 24 m (80 ft) in height and 61 cm (2 ft) in diameter. Common persimmon is found in a variety of habitats in the southeast and central US. Usually tolerant of shade. The wood is hard and used for turnery. The fruit is eaten by many birds and animals. My dogs love the ripe fruit! Unripe fruit is very astringent!

Photographs by Mike Hogan.

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