Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
450-500; see text
Diospyros is a genus of about 450-500 species of deciduous and evergreen trees. The majority are native to the tropics, with only a few species extending into temperate climates. The genus includes a few species that are commercially important, notably the persimmons (D. kaki, D. virginiana), which produce edible fruit, and several species known as ebony (chiefly D. ebenum) which produce a hard, black wood. Other Asian species are locally important as a source of timber.
- D. acris.
- D. armata.
- D. canaliculata (syns. D. cauliflora, D. xanthochlamys).
- D. celebica. Coromandel Ebony, Macassar Ebony.
- D. chloroxylon.
- D. crassiflora.
- D. confertifolia. Southeast Asia.
- D. digyna. Black Persimmon, Black Sapote. Native to Mexico, and its fruit has green skin and white flesh when unripe and turns black when ripe.
- D. discolor. Mabolo, Velvet-apple. Native to the Philippines. It is bright red when ripe.
- D. ebenaster.
- D. ebenum (syn. D. hebecarpa). Ebony. A tree of tropical Asia whose dark heartwood is used in cabinetwork.
- D. fischeri (syn. Royena fischeri).
- D. insularis. New Guinea Ebony.
- D. kaki. Kaki Persimmon. The most widely cultivated species, grown for its delicious fruit. This species, native to China, is deciduous, with broad, stiff leaves. Cultivation for the fruit extended first to other parts of east Asia, and later introduced to California and southern Europe in the 1800s.
- D. kurzii. Marblewood, Andaman Marble.
- D. lanceifolia. Southeast Asia.
- D. lotus. Date-plum. native to southwest Asia and southeast Europe. Known to the ancient Greeks as "the fruit of the Gods", i.e., dios pyros, whence the scientific name of the genus. Its English name derives from the small fruit, which have a taste reminiscent of both plums and dates.
- D. macrocalyx (syns. D. loureiriana, Royena macrocalyx).
- D. maritima.
- D. melanoxylon.
- D. mespiliformis.
- D. multiflora.
- D. samoensis.
- D. sandwicensis. Lama. endemic to Hawaii.
- D. siamang (syn. D. elliptifolia).
- D. texana. Texas Persimmon. Many-branched shrub or small tree native to central and west Texas and southwest Oklahoma, where it grows on dry rocky hillsides. The fruit, smaller than those of the American Persimmon, are eaten by many species of birds and mammals.
- D. trichophylla (syn. D. pruriens).
- D. villosa (syn. Royena villosa).
- D. virginiana. American Persimmon. Native to eastern North America.
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