Common persimmon

Common persimmon (Diospyros virginiana) is also called American persimmon.  You will find this tree growing near the freshwater wetlands at the Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area (ORCA) on the south side of Oslo Road.

Common persimmon trees are most noticeable in the widened trails where they have been “mowed down” to the ground.  These trees can grow to be 40 – 60′ tall and produce 1 1/2 – 2″ round, fleshy berries that ripens from green to orange.  Songbirds & mammals feed on the fruits.  Unripe fruits are said to be unpleasantly astringent.  Common persimmon is related to the persimmon of commerce, known as Asian or Japanese persimmon (D. kaki).

Its alternate leaves range form 2 – 6″ long, have entire margins, and are elliptical to ovate (egg-shaped).  The top of the leaves is dark green and shiny and paler green underneath.  The ignominy of being chopped down and then “sunburned” causes the leaves to be much lighter in color …

The bark of adult trees darkens to nearly black and is patterned in thick squarish blocks.  Common persimmon is part of the ebony family,  Ebenaceae, and its wood is sometimes harvested for the making of instruments.

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