The persimmon tree is a member of the Ebony family, a group of plants that contains just two trees native to the United States---the common persimmon and the Texas persimmon. Persimmons produce a fruit that has a taste mimicking that of dates, according to the "National Audubon Field Guide to Trees." The common persimmon grows in the lower eastern half of the nation, while the Texas persimmon exists in southern Texas. The leaves that grow on the persimmon's branches have distinct features.
The common persimmon leaf is a glossy darker shade of green on its upper side, but a much paler hue of green underneath. The underneath portion of a common persimmon leaf can appear to be almost whitish at times. The Texas persimmon leaf is shiny above, with a dark green color, while its underside is dull green.
The length of the common persimmon leaf varies; some leaves are as short as 2.5 inches and others reaching 6 inches long, states the Virginia Department of Forestry website. The width also varies, with some common persimmon leaves just an inch and a half wide and others as wide as 3 inches. Texas persimmon leaves are smaller than the leaves of common persimmon, with the longest being an inch and a half in length. The diameter of a Texas persimmon leaf will fall in the range of between 3/8 of an inch and ¾ of an inch.
Persimmon leaves are what botanists refer to as a simple leaf, with just one blade. The shape of these leaves is elliptical to oblong. The persimmon leaf has a rounded end, with some having a small notch. The edges, or margins, of the persimmon leaf have no serrations and are smooth as you run your finger along them.
Autumn Persimmon Leaves
The fall coloration of the persimmon tree is usually less than spectacular, states the Ohio Department of Natural Resources site. While in some cases the leaves will develop streaks of such colors as red-purple, orange and yellow, most of the time the leaves just change to a different shade of a lighter green. The persimmon is a deciduous tree, with the foliage falling off the branches well before winter.
The pattern of leaf growth on a persimmon branch is alternate, with one leaf emerging from the individual nodes on the limbs. The undersides of persimmon leaves are pubescent, says the University of Connecticut Plant Database. This means that fine minute hairs exist on the underneath portion of the leaves, a feature that does not appear on the upper sides. The leaves grow thick in the upper branches of a young persimmon specimen, making the tree attractive with the dark green colors.
- Ohio Department of Natural Resources: Persimmon
- University of Connecticut Plant Database: Common Persimmon
- Virginia Dept of Forestry: Persimmon
- "National Audubon Society Field Guide to Trees"; Elbert L. Little; 2008
- "Trees of North America;" C. Frank Brockman; 1996
- Photo Credit fruit of persimmon image by Paola Fontana from Fotolia.com
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