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For Your Garden - November 2010

Native plants provide not only beauty but food and shelter for wildlife. Are you using native plants in your yard and garden? Native species are adapted to the Illinois climate. They require little or no watering and are resistant to drought, insects and most diseases. Because they are perennials, you can welcome their presence year after year.

persimmon (Diospyros virginiana)
Photo © Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Guy Sternberg, Photographer

A persimmon tree may grow to about 50 feet in height. Its bark is dark gray or black and divided into square-shaped blocks. Its leaves are arranged alternately on the stem. Each leaf is simple and smooth along the edges. The leaf is oval or elliptical in shape with a pointed tip. A leaf may be up to five inches long and two and one-half inches wide. The upper leaf surface is dark green and shiny, while the lower surface is lighter in color. Male and female flowers are usually produced on separate trees. The fruit is a fleshy sphere that is usually orange when ripe. Many animals eat persimmon fruits. Persimmon trees grow well in a variety of conditions from well-drained uplands to wet bottomland soil.

Classification and taxonomy are based on Mohlenbrock, Robert H. 2014. Vascular flora of Illinois: A field guide. Fourth edition. Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale. 536 pp.

Illinois Range

Native Plant Information

For more information about Illinois native plants, visit our Native Habitat Descriptions, Requirements, and Plant Lists page. The following publications are available from the IDNR on our publications page.


​Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Ebenales
Family: Ebenaceae

Illinois Status: common, native