Fruit of the Gods

American persimmon (Diospyros Virginia) is a tree native to the eastern part of the country, from New York southward to Florida. Persimmon prefers deep, well drained soils that remain somewhat moist throughout the season. In Frederick County, persimmon is naturally found in extensive floodplains around Myersville, Middletown, Jefferson, and Frederick. It is also a favorite for tree plantings in riparian areas.

Credit: - David Barrow

The name “Diospyros” translates to “fruit of the gods,” which describes the berry-like fruits that form on the trees in the fall. But be forewarned: these berries have an extremely bitter taste if they are eaten before they are ripe. It normally takes some freezing temps to ripen the fruit before they turn orange and are edible. The fruit is noted for containing a lot of fiber and is a good source of vitamin C, often made into jams, jellies, and many confectionaries.

Persimmon is a smaller tree that has initial fast growth, thriving in direct- to-partial sun; it does not grow well in the shade. The bark is very blocky, and dark brown to gray; the leaves are simple and elliptical. Persimmon is the only species of Ebony found in North America. The sapwood is white, but it turns gray to black after aging, a characteristic of other ebonies, as well. The wood is very hard and tough, yet retains a smooth surface. Historically, persimmon was used for golf club “woods” and for pool cues. These days, persimmon is widely used for woodworking projects where strong, distinctive wood is desired.

Article by FCFCDB

Nature note for 6/19/21