Diospyros Virginiana. Persimmon.
Description: Natural Order, Ebenaceae. The persimmon is a tree indigenous to the Middle and Southern States, and westward about the parallel of 42 deg. North. Height twenty feet, but much larger Southward; with a spreading and roundish head, straight stem, and a blackish bark–which is much furrowed in the old trees. Leaves alternate, ovate-oblong, acuminate, on downy petioles. Flowers dioecious, lateral, axillary, quite small, pale greenish-yellow. Fruit an inch or more in diameter, dark-yellow and pulpy when perfectly ripe, with numerous small seeds imbedded in the pulp after the manner of the berry. This fruit is intensely acid, when young; but it ripens late in the fall, after being touched with frost, and then becomes soft, sweet, and edible.
Properties and Uses: The bark of persimmon is a very bitter astringent, intense, and lasting in its action. It has been employed to advantage as a family remedy in intermittents, and it is my opinion that it will be found a better antiperiodic than the cornus florida. It may be used as a wash in aphthous sores and ulcerated sore throat, and outwardly upon all ulcers of a low grade, to which it is antiseptic and strengthening. Prof. C. S. Rafinesque, who first called the attention of the profession to this article, says that an infusion of the seeds is good in dropsy. The tree certainly deserves more attention than it has received, both as a remedy and for its fruit.
The Physiomedical Dispensatory, 1869, was written by William Cook, M.D.
It was scanned by Paul Bergner at http://medherb.com