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Archive - October 2018

persimmon Diospyros virginiana
 
What is a Persimmon?
A persimmon is a tree. Its fruit is also known as a persimmon. Trees are plants, so a persimmon tree is a plant.
 
What Does It Look Like? 
A persimmon tree has bark that is dark gray to black and divided into square blocks. Its leaves are arranged alternately on the stems. The leaves are simple and have an elliptical to oval shape with a point at the tip. The leaf is shiny on top. 
 
How Big Is It?
A persimmon tree may reach 50 feet tall. Its trunk diameter can be as much as about one foot. At one time along the Wabash River, persimmon trees existed that had a trunk diameter of three feet!
 
Where Does It Live?
Persimmon trees grow in the southern two-thirds of Illinois. They can be found in fields, woodland edges, dry woodlands, along roads and in bottomland forests. 
 
How Does It Reproduce?
Male and female flowers are usually produced on separate trees. Flowers bloom in May and June. Bees pollinators the flowers.
 
What Does It Eat?
As a plant, this organism does not eat. It makes its own food.
 
Does Anything Eat It?
Raccoon (Procyon lotor), Virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana), white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), tree squirrels, northern bobwhite (Colinus virginianus), wild turkey (Melagris gallopavo), red fox (Vulpes vulpes), gray fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus), rodents, striped skunk (Mephitis mephitis), coyote (Canis latrans) and other animals use the fruit and/or buds and leaves of this tree for food. People and many birds like to eat the fruit, too! Luna moth (Actias luna) larvae often feed on persimmon tree leaves. Larvae of several other species of insects and some adult insects also feed on this tree.
 
What Else Should I Know About It?
The fruit is a spherical, fleshy berry. It is yellow to orange and up to two inches in diameter. The wood of this tree is used to make golf club heads, billiard cues, lumber, furniture, railroad ties, tool handles, crates and other objects.