Origin: the persimmon of Europe (Diospyros lotus) is native to China. It was introduced into Italy in the XVIth century. Other species: the Japanese persimmon (khaki Diospyros) was introduced into France in 1860. The American persimmon comes from Virginia (Diospyros virginiana). Hardiness: zone 7 (it supports cold until -17 °C or 1 °F). Height: 10 m in Europe, 20 m in the hot countries. Lifespan: 500 years. Bark: very dark, dug in small rectangular blocks (very particular bark). Deciduous foliage: big leaves (15 cm) alternate, oblong, dark green shining below, pubescent in underside, which turn to purple in autumn. Small flowers, unisexual, in July, in the axil of leaves. Small fruits (2 cm) in the axil of leaves: these are berries of yellow-orange colour. They are astringent and sparsely edibles. Persimmon of Japan produces a 5 cm fruit, the persimmon (Japanese name), edible after frost (as the medlar), because frost softens him.
Persimmon, Diospyros virginiana
Origin: East of the United States. Hardiness: zone 7 (it supports cold until -17 °C or 1 °F). Height: 15-20 m tall. Lifespan: 100-150 years. Uses: rootstock for persimmon. Its hard wood (such as the ebony tree) is used to make golf clubs.