Illinois Natural History Survey - University of Illinois

Diospyros virginiana
Possumwood
Taxonomy

Synonyms: Diospyros virginiana var. platycarpa f. atra, Diospyros virginiana var. virginiana

Subspecific taxa:

Classification:

Other taxonomic & nomenclature sources: USDA PlantsITISThe Plant ListIPNI

Images

   
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Species Distribution
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County Map Legend
Absent:
Not known from county
Medium confidence:
Medium or unknown confidence;
often old records or unverifiable observations
Medium-high confidence:
Often observations by expert botanists
High confidence:
Often vouchered herbarium records
Planted / introduced:
Native species introduced outside historic range,
or only in planted locations within county (e.g., restorations)
Historic / extirpated:
Only historic records for the species; likely extirpated
(Note that this category is not yet functional)

North American distribution maps for this species: FLNAUSDA PlantsBONAPBISON

Collection & Observation Phenology [?]

J
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F
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M
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A
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M
0
J
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J
0
A
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S
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O
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N
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D
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Collection & Observation Timeline [?]

Species Status

Status/Listing: No Information

Notes:

Origin: Native

Species Description

General: Dicot-woody, perennial

Roots: primary

Shoots: alternate leaf arrangment; simple leaf type; entire leaf margin; Pinnate leaf venation; linear, lanceolate, obovate leaf shape

Inflorescence: dichasium, solitary

Flowers: unisexual, dioecious; 4 merous; incomplete, regular; yellow, white; hypogynous ovary position

Fruit: berry

Physiology: autotrophic; C3 C02 fixation

Ecology & Natural History

Habitat:

ILPIN Notes: Flowers are occasionally 5-merous. Pistillate flowers solitary, staminate flowers cymose (Spongberg, 1977). Occasionally individuals produce both staminate and pistillate flowers. Perfect flowers are rarely formed. Seedless persimmons are sometimes formed through parthenocarpy (Spongberg, 1979). Two chromosome races of persimmon exist: 2n = 60 and 2n = 90 (Baldwin and Culp, 1941). Form - seedlings. The edible fruit can be used to make pudding, syrup, and vinegar. The seeds can be roasted and used as a substitute for coffee. The dried leaves, which are high in vitamin C content, can be used to make a tea (Fernald et al., 1958). Wood of persimmon contains extracts that are toxic to termites (Carter et al., 1978). Seed company numbers: 14, 18, 19, 21, 27, 28. Spongberg, S. A. 1977. Ebenaceae hardy in temperate North America. Journal of the Arnold Arboretum 58: 146-160. Spongberg, S. A. 1979. Notes on persimmons, kakis, date plums, and chapotes. Arnoldia 39: 290-309. Baldwin, J. T., Jr., and R. Culp. 1941. Polyploidy in Diospyros virginiana L. American Journal of Botany 28: 942-944. Worth, C. B. 1975. Virginia opossums (Didelphis virginiana) as disseminators of the common persimmon (Diospyros virginiana). Journal of Mammalogy 56: 517. Carter, F. L., A. M. Garlo, and J. B. Stanley. 1978. Termiticidal components of wood extracts: 7-Methyljuglone from Diospyros virginiana. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 26: 869-873.

Functional Relationships:

  • Pollinators insects (insect, bee)

Human Relationships:

  • Edibility [?] : yes
  • Showy Flowers:

Wildlife and Livestock Information:

  • Food Value: deer: good; upland game birds: good; small non-game bird: good; small mammals: good
  • Cover Value:

Coefficient of Conservatism (C-value) [?] :

  • Entire State: 2
  • Chicago Area:

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