P&PDL Picture of the Week for
June 14, 2010

Persimmon - No Fruit?

Doug Akers, Boone County ANR Extension Educator, Purdue University

Do you have a persimmon, Diospyros virginiana, tree that has never produced fruit? Perhaps, you have a male tree but no female tree in the vicinity. Or, perhaps you have a female tree, with no male tree in the vicinity. Persimmon flowers are primarily dioecious; that is, each sex is on a separate plant. However, with persimmon trees, sometimes both sexes are present on the same tree (according to Michael Dirr). And, persimmons rely on bees to transfer pollen from the male flowers to the female flowers in order to produce fruit. Honeybees generally travel a mile from their colony; with perhaps a maximum of three miles.

Persimmons bloom in late May and early June in Indiana. At flowering, you can determine whether a particular tree is a male, female, or a little of both. The quickest and easiest way to determine the difference without differentiating between stamens and pistils, is that the female flowers (see pictures) have relatively large green leaf-like structures (calyx) above the flowers (which are still noticeable above the developing fruit a few weeks later from the female flowers). The leafy structures above the male flowers are much smaller and held tighter to the flower (see picture).

Click image to enlarge

Bee on male persimmon flower

Bee on male flower

Close up persimmon flower

Flower close up

Female developing fruit

Female developing fruit

Female persimmon flower

Female flower

Male persimmon flowers

Male flowers

Male persimmon flowers

Male flowers

Purdue Plant & Pest Diagnostic Lab Purdue Cooperative Extension Service