Diospyros lotus L. - Oriental persimmon

Taxonomic position.

Family Ebenaceae Guerke, genus Diospyros L.

Morphology and biology.

Deciduous tree, green in summer, grows up to 15-20 m tall. Leaves are oblong-elliptical to broad-lanceolate, densely membranous, 5-14 cm long and 2.5-6 cm wide, smooth-edged. Flowers are almost sessile, 5-8 mm long. Corollas are yellowish or brownish red. Fruit are globular, 8-16 mm in diameter, initially reddish in color, later black-brown with bluish bloom. Dioecious. Entomophilous. Ornito- and zoochore. Blossoms in May-June; bears fruit in October-November. Propegated by seedlings. 2n=30.


Occurs in the Caucasus (Western and Eastern Transcaucasia, middle course of the Kura River, the Adzhar-Imeretian Range, Lenkoran Lowland, Svanetian, Racha and Trialeti Ranges, Talysh); Central Asia (Pamir Altai: southern slopes of Hissar Mountains, river basins of Varzob, Sangardak-Darya, Tupalang, Tamshush and Kshtut; Darvaz Range: along the Pyandzh River; occasionally in Kopet Dagh); Turkey (north); Iran (north), the Himalayas (Pakistan and Afghanistan); China; and Japan.


Mesophyte. Photophilous. Grows on mountainsides along waterways, in river valleys, and in ravines near springs in the lower and middle mountain zones at altitudes of 400-600 m above sea level in Transcaucasia and up to 2,000 m in Central Asia. Often grows in pure stands. Requires fertile, humid soil but does not tolerate water-logging . A relic of subtropical rainforests of the tertiary period.

Utilization and economic value.

Used for food (fruit). Its fruit contains sugars, ascorbic and malic acids, and iron. Fruits are eaten fresh or dried. They are also used to prepare jam, candy and wine. Seedlings provide good root stock for cultivated persimmon.

Reference citations:

Brezhnev D.D., Korovina O.N. 1981. Wild relatives of cultivated plants in the flora of the USSR. Leningrad: Kolos. 339 pp. (In Russian)
Grossgeim, A.A. 1967. Flora of the Caucasus. Leningrad: Publishing House of the USSR Academy of Sciences. V.7: 151. (In Russian)
Sokolov S.I., Svjaseva O.A., Kubli V.A. 1986. Areas of distribution of trees and shrubs in the USSR. Leningrad: Nauka. V.3: 121. (In Russian)

© I.G. Chukhina


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