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Diospyros texana

 
Diospyros texana
After putting on some growth, May 2020
Texas persimmon; black persimmon
Just after planting, October 2017
Diospyros texana
Dropped its leaves after the hard freeze of January 2018, but pushed out new ones by mid-February

Common name Texas persimmon; black persimmon
Family ebenaceae
Life cycle tree (Z8b-11)
Flowers white
Size to 20'
Light sun-part shade
Cultural notes heat and drought tolerant

Small tree or large shrub native to Texas, where it survives heat and drought conditions with aplomb. I first learned about the species while visiting Houston's Mercer Arboretum, which has a nice tree-shaped specimen casting dappled shade on its surroundings, and decided I should grow one too. Luckily, a local native plant nursery carried it – I haven't seen it on offer anywhere else.
Female plants produce small black fruit, attractive to wildlife, as well as to humans who don't mind eating the little bit of flesh around the large seeds. Having observed the tree during its first few years in our garden, I've seen no inclination for it to produce fruit – so I decided it must be either a male, or there is no stud around to pollinate the flowers. When I finally got around to observing the flower structure up close, I found out it was the former – our tree produces lots of male flowers (see picture below), and none of the larger female ones. Perhaps I'll find a comely companion for my lonely persimmon knight one of these years...
At maturity, the smooth bark is an attractive feature. Small simple oval leaves.

Texas persimmon; black persimmon
Starting to bloom mid-March...
Diospyros texana
...flowers are numerous but not very showy
Texas persimmon; black persimmon
Just slight tender spriggy extensions in its first year

With so many of the plantings in our garden spurting towards the sky in a single season (its neighbor tree, huisache, grew twice as large one year after planting, and the lemon eucalyptus we planted was even quicker to tower high over all its surroundings), our persimmon has been more reluctant to grow. In its first year in our garden, it barely extended its reach at all, putting on only the slightest bit of new growth in autumn. I wondered if it would grow faster in future years, and sure enough, it started reaching a little more – but it is still dwarfed by its huisache neighbor.

Diospyros texana
Male flower, with only stamens inside

In our garden, this plant grows in the following area: left fence border

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Last modified: April 01, 2021
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