AZ Arboretums

Diospyros kaki

Japanese persimmon

Common: Japanese persimmon, kaki persimmon, Oriental persimmon
Family: Ebenaceae
Origin: Native to Japan and mainland Asia, where they have been cultivated for centuries. Brought to southern United States in the 1870s.
Zones: USDA 7-9
Light: Full sun, will tolerate partial shade
Temperature: Can stand winter temperatures as low as 0 degrees F. Do best in areas that have moderate winters and mild summers.
Soil: Needs well drained, slightly acid soils, but can tolerate a wider variety of conditions than most fruit trees.
Water: Will withstand short periods of drought, but the fruit will be larger and of higher quality with regular watering. Extreme drought will cause the leaves and fruit to drop prematurely.

Slow growing globe shaped tree eventually reaching 30 feet tall. Multi-trunked or single-stemmed. Drooping leaves and branches give it a languid, tropical appearance. Deciduous leaves, 4-6 inches, glossy bronze in spring and turning gold and red-orange in fall.

Flowers not showy, but give way to delicious orange, baseball-sized fruit that remains on tree even after leaves have fallen. Once established, they need little care and require little or no pruning. Make attractive shade trees with the added bonus of delicious fruit in the fall. Fruit is set without pollination, and are usually seedless.

Tannin from unripe Japanese persimmons has been employed in brewing sake, also in dyeing and as a wood preservative. Juice of small, inedible wild persimmons, crushed whole, calyx, seeds and all, is diluted with water and painted on paper or cloth as an insect and moisture repellent. The wood of the tree is fairly hard and heavy, and is prized in Japan for fancy inlays, though it has an unpleasant odor.