Wednesday, March 07, 2007


When I think of Common Persimmon Diospyros virginiana (Another name for it is possomwood) I think of blocky bark. No other bark resembles this in northern Missouri. I usually find the tree alone not with no other persimmons nearby. When I am walking in the woods it is a surprise to come upon one.

The fruit is edible if you catch it just at the right time in the Autumn. Otherwise its sour. 1 to 1 1/2” in dia. And is turns orange and wrinkled when ripe. (photo of the fruit)

mentioned it in 1539 and Jan de Laet in 1558. Captain John Smith near Jamestown said that it was awful if you don't catch the fruit at the right time.

Buds are black with 2 scales. Leaves egg shaped with a stem of about 1 inch. But the bark is the IDer on this one.

It grows up to 60' tall in the open or 30' with a shorter trunk and broad crown is a more normal size.

Osage Indians of Missouri made a bread that tasted similar to ginger bread. Taking the pulp of the fruit and mixing it with cornmeal.

The wood of the tree is similar to ebony. It is from the ebony family. The wood is hard and heavy.

Sapwood is creamy white. Commercial use of this wood comes from the sap wood. When the wood has been warn it polishes to a smooth surface. Crafters don't have much access to the wood because the lumber is scarce.

Where I have been finding it is in the Missouri river bottom lands where it grows tall and straight. It will invade pastures and abandoned fields.

Treenotes had a good article on this tree.

I knew where another Persimmon tree was and was hiking there at lunch. I saw I wasn't going to have enough time to get back to it so I was following a gully and came across this one.

Though life may be bitter at times,
The Lord brings sweetness to my soul.

The wind may be cold,
and the driving rain bitter,
But Oh how sweet it is to rest in the Lord.


  1. Those are some beautiful photos of the persimmon's bark. Once you have seen it, you really can't mistake it for anything else!

  2. Actually, the bark looks a great deal like Nyssa sylvatica. But thanks for this introduction to a tree that barely ranges into my area (central PA).

  3. I found this essay via Festival of the Trees. The bark photographs are great. Persimmon is my favorite fall/ winter fruit. It is a common yard tree in Berkeley, Calif.