Diospyros chloroxylon
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Ericales
Family: Ebenaceae
Genus: Diospyros

450–500, see text


Cargillia R.Br.
Cavanillea Desr. (non Medik.: preoccupied)
Ebenus Kuntze (non L.: preoccupied)
Disopyros (lapsus)
Embryopteris Gaertn.
Guaiacana Duhamel (nom. illeg., nom. superfl.)
Idesia Scop. (non Idesia Maxim., nom. conserv.)
Maba J.R.Forst. & G.Forst.
Mabola Raf.
Macreightia A.DC.
Noltia Thonn.
Paralea Aubl.
Pimia Seem.
Rhaphidanthe Hiern ex Gürke
Ropourea Aubl.
Royena L.
Tetraclis Hiern

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 regions. They are commonly known as ebony or persimmon trees. The generic name is derived from the Greek words διός (dios), meaning "of Zeus" and πυρός (pyros), meaning "grain"[2] and was originally applied to the Caucasian Persimmon (D. lotus).



Diospyros species are important and conspicuous trees in many of their native ecosystems, such as lowland dry forests of the former Maui Nui in Hawaii,[3] Caspian Hyrcanian mixed forests, Kathiarbar-Gir dry deciduous forests, Louisiade Archipelago rain forests, Madagascar lowland forests, Narmada Valley dry deciduous forests, New Guinea mangroves or South Western Ghats montane rain forests. The fruit are rich in tannins and thus avoided by most herbivores when unripe; when ripe they are eagerly eaten by many animals however, such as the rare Aders' Duiker (Cephalophus adersi).

The foliage is used as food by the larvae of numerous Lepidoptera species:


  • Eupseudosoma aberrans
  • Eupseudosoma involutum (Snowy Eupseudosoma)
  • Hypercompe indecisa


  • Gymnoscelis rufifasciata (Double-striped Pug) – recorded on persimmons




  • Charaxes khasianus (Kihansi Charaxes) – recorded on D. natalensis
  • Dophla evelina (Redspot Duke) – recorded on D. candolleana



  • "Cnephasia" jactatana (Black-lyre Leafroller Moth)

An economically significant plant pathogen infecting many Diospyros species – D. hispida, Kaki Persimmon (D. kaki), Date-plum (D. lotus), Texas Persimmon (D. texana), Coromandel Ebony (D. melanoxylon) and probably others – is the sac fungus Pseudocercospora kaki, which causes a leaf spot disease.

Ebony jivari of a sitar

Use by humans

Betulinic acid can be isolated from Diospyros leucomelas

The genus includes several plants of commercial importance, either for their edible fruit (persimmons) or for their timber (ebony). The latter are divided into two groups in trade: the pure black ebony (notably from D. ebenum, but also several other species), and the striped ebony or Calamander wood (from D. celebica, D. mun and others). Most species in the genus produce little to none of this black ebony-type wood; their hard timber (e.g. of American Persimmon, D. virginiana) may still be used on a more limited basis.

Leaves of the Coromandel Ebony (D. melanoxylon) are used to roll South Asian beedi cigarettes. Several species are used in herbalism, and D. leucomelas yields the versatile medical compound betulinic acid. Though bees do not play a key role as pollinators, in plantations Diospyros may be of some use as honey plant. D. mollis, locally known as mặc nưa, is used in Vietnam to dye the famous black lãnh Mỹ A silk of Tân Châu district.

These trees are well-known in their native range, and consequently much used as floral emblems. In Indonesia, D. celebica (Makassar Ebony, known locally as eboni) is the provincial tree of Central Sulawesi, while ajan kelicung (D. macrophylla) is that of West Nusa Tenggara. The emblem of the Japanese island of Ishigaki is the Yaeyama kokutan (D. ferrea). In Thailand, the Gold Apple (D. decandra) is the provincial tree of Chanthaburi and Nakhon Pathom Provinces, while Black-and-white Ebony (D. malabarica) is that of Ang Thong Province. The name of the Thai district Amphoe Tha Tako literally means "District of the Diospyros pier" after a famous local gathering spot.


Diospyros chloroxylon flowers
Gold Apple (D. decandra) fruit
Diospyros dichrophylla
D. ferrea, known as Yaeyama kokutan in Japan
D. geminata foliage and young fruit
D. rhombifolia is a deciduous species
D. whyteana twig with young fruit
  • Diospyros acocksii (De Winter) De Winter
  • Diospyros acris
  • Diospyros affinis Thwaites
  • Diospyros apeibacarpos Raddi
  • Diospyros armata
  • Diospyros attenuata Thwaites
  • Diospyros australis – Yellow Persimmon, Black Plum, "grey plum"
  • Diospyros austroafricana De Winter
  • Diospyros barberi
  • Diospyros batocana Hiern
  • Diospyros blancoiMabolo, Velvet-apple, kamagong (Philippines)
  • Diospyros brandisiana Kz.
  • Diospyros canaliculata (= D. cauliflora, D. xanthochlamys)
  • Diospyros candolleana
  • Diospyros caribaea (A.DC.) Standl.
  • Diospyros castanea (Craib) Fletcher
  • Diospyros cathayensis Steward (= D. sinensis)
  • Diospyros cauliflora Blume
  • Diospyros celebica – Makassar Ebony
  • Diospyros chamaethamnus – Sand Apple
  • Diospyros chloroxylon
  • Diospyros clavigera C.B.Clarke
  • Diospyros confertifolia
  • Diospyros compacta (R.Br.) Kosterm.
  • Diospyros consolataei
  • Diospyros conzattii Standl.
  • Diospyros crumenata Thwaites
  • Diospyros crassiflora Nesbitt – Gaboon Ebony
  • Diospyros crassinervis (Krug & Urb.) Standl.
  • Diospyros decandra Lour. – Gold Apple, thị (Vietnamese)
  • Diospyros densiflora
  • Diospyros dichrophylla (Gand.) De Winter
  • Diospyros digynaBlack Sapote, Chocolate Pudding Fruit, tzapotl (Nahuatl), zapote prieto (Spanish), "black persimmon"
  • Diospyros ebenum – Ceylon Ebony, India Ebony, "ebony"
  • Diospyros elliptica (J.R.Forst. & G.Forst.) P.S.Green
  • Diospyros eriantha Champ. ex Benth.
  • Diospyros fasciculosa
  • Diospyros ferra[verification needed]
  • Diospyros ferrea (Willd. ) Bakh.f.Yaeyama kokutan (Japanese)
  • Diospyros fischeri
  • Diospyros geminata
  • Diospyros glabra (L.) De Winter
  • Diospyros glandulosa Lace
  • Diospyros glaucifolia F.P.Metcalf
  • Diospyros gracilipes (Madagaskar)
  • Diospyros grisebachii (Hiern) Standl.
  • Diospyros guianensis (Aubl.) Gürke
  • Diospyros halesioides Griseb.
  • Diospyros hillebrandiiēlama, "lama" (Hawaiian)
  • Diospyros hispida DC.
  • Diospyros humilis – Queensland Ebony
  • Diospyros ierensis Britton
  • Diospyros inconstans Jacq. (= D. psidioides)
  • Diospyros inhacaensis F.White
  • Diospyros insignis Thwaites
  • Diospyros insularis Bakh.f – Papua Ebony
  • Diospyros japonica Siebold & Zucc.
  • Diospyros juruensis A.C.Sm.
  • Diospyros kaki – Japanese Persimmon, Kaki Persimmon, Asian Persimmon, kaki, shizi (Chinese)
  • Diospyros kirkii Hiern
  • Diospyros kurzii – Andaman Marblewood
  • Diospyros lanceifolia
  • Diospyros leucomelas
  • Diospyros littorea (R.Br.) Kosterm.
  • Diospyros lokohensis
  • Diospyros longibracteata Lecomte
  • Diospyros lotusDate-plum, Caucasian Persimmon
  • Diospyros lycioides Desf. – Bushveld Bluebush
    • Diospyros lycioides ssp. guerkei (Kuntze) De Winter
    • Diospyros lycioides ssp. lycioides
    • Diospyros lycioides ssp. nitens (Harv. ex Hiern) De Winter
    • Diospyros lycioides ssp. sericea (Bernh.) De Winter
  • Diospyros mabacea – Red-fruited Ebony
  • Diospyros macrocalyx (= D. loureiroana)
  • Diospyros macrophylla Blumeajan kelicung (Indonesian)
  • Diospyros major (G.Forst.) Bakh.f.
    • Diospyros major var. ebenus f. australiensis
  • Diospyros malabarica (Desr.) Kostel. – Black-and-white Ebony, Pale Moon Ebony, Gaub Tree (= D. embryopteris, D. peregrina[verification needed])
  • Diospyros maritima Blume
  • Diospyros marmorata R.N.Park. – Marblewood Ebony, "marblewood"
  • Diospyros melanidaEbène marbre (French)
  • Diospyros melanoxylonCoromandel Ebony, East Indian Ebony, tendu (Hindi), temburini
  • Diospyros mespiliformis – Jackalberry, jakkalsbessie (Afrikaans), "African Ebony"
  • Diospyros mindanaensis Merr. (= D. rosenbluthii)
  • Diospyros mollis Griff.mặc nưa (Vietnamese), มะเกลือ (Thai)
  • Diospyros montana Roxb. (= D. cordifolia, D. montana var. cordifolia)
  • Diospyros moonii Thwaites
  • Diospyros morrisiana Hance
  • Diospyros multiflora
  • Diospyros mun – Mun Ebony
  • Diospyros natalensis (Harv.) Brenan
    • Diospyros natalensis ssp. natalensis
    • Diospyros natalensis ssp. nummularia (Brenan) F.White
  • Diospyros nitida Merr.
  • Diospyros oblongifolia (Thwaites) Kosterm.
  • Diospyros oldhamii Maxim. (= D. taitoensis)
  • Diospyros oleifera Cheng
  • Diospyros pallens (Thunb.) F.White
  • Diospyros papuana Valeton ex Bakh.f.
  • Diospyros pavonii
  • Diospyros pentamera – Myrtle Ebony, Grey Persimmon, Black Myrtle, Grey Plum
  • Diospyros philippinensis A.DC.
  • Diospyros phlebodes (A.C.Sm.) A.C.Sm.
  • Diospyros pilosanthera Blanco
  • Diospyros piscatoria Gürke
  • Diospyros poeppigiana
  • Diospyros pyrrhocarpa Miq.
  • Diospyros quaesita Thwaites
  • Diospyros rhombifolia
  • Diospyros ridleyi Bakh.f. (= D. crumenata auct. non Thwaites, D. pyrrhocarpa auct. non Miq., D. pyrrhocarpa var. andamanica, D. pyrrhocarpoides)
  • Diospyros rosei Standl.
  • Diospyros rotundifolia Hiern
  • Diospyros rubra Lecomte
  • Diospyros rumphii Bakh.f. (= D. macassar, D. utilis Koord & Val. (non Hemsl.))
  • Diospyros samoensis A.Gray
  • Diospyros sandwicensislama, "ēlama" (Hawaiian)
  • Diospyros sapota Roxb.
  • Diospyros sericea DC.
  • Diospyros seychellarum Seychelles
  • Diospyros siamang (= D. elliptifolia)
  • Diospyros simii (Kuntze) De Winter
  • Diospyros sintenisii (Krug & Urb.) Standl.
  • Diospyros sonorae Standl.
  • Diospyros subrotata
  • Diospyros subtruncata Hochr.
  • Diospyros sundaica Bakh.f. (= D. pseudoebenum)
  • Diospyros sylvatica Roxb.
  • Diospyros tessellaria Poir. – Mauritius Ebony
  • Diospyros texana – Texas Persimmon, Mexican Persimmon, chapote, chapote manzano, chapote prieto (Spanish), "black persimmon"
  • Diospyros trichophylla (= D. pruriens)
  • Diospyros tutcheri Dunn
  • Diospyros venosa Wall. ex DC. (= D. hermaphroditica)
  • Diospyros villosa (L.) De Winter
D. virginiana in Tampa, Florida

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  • Diospyros — noun a genus of trees or shrubs that have beautiful and valuable wood • Syn: ↑genus Diospyros • Hypernyms: ↑dicot genus, ↑magnoliopsid genus • Member Holonyms: ↑Ebenaceae, ↑family Ebenaceae, ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

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