Diospyros. Persimmon. Date-plum. Fruits de Plaqueminier de Virginie, Fr. Persimmonfrüchte, Dattelpflaumen, G.—The Diospyros virginiana L., or persimmon (fam. Ebenaceae), is a small indigenous tree, occurring in woods and old fields from Connecticut, southward. The flowers appear in May or June, but the fruit is not ripe until the middle of autumn. The fruit is a globular berry, dark yellow when ripe, and containing numerous seeds in a soft yellow pulp. The seeds, dried, roasted, and ground, are used in some parts of Georgia as a substitute for coffee. (M. S. Rep., 1873, 437.)
While green, the fruit is excessively astringent, and in this form was formerly included in the U. S. Secondary List; but, when perfectly mature, and after being touched by the frost, it is sweet and palatable. The unripe fruit, according to B. R. Smith of Philadelphia, contains tannic acid, pectin, sugar, malic acid, coloring matter, and lignin. (A. J. P., xviii, p.167.) The persimmon has been used by Mettauer in diarrhea, chronic dysentery, and uterine hemorrhage. The dose of the vinous tincture (an ounce of the fresh green fruit to two fluidounces of dilute alcohol) is half a fluidrachm (1.9 mils) or more for infants, and half a fluidounce (15 mils) or more for adults. The bark is astringent and very bitter. For further information concerning this drug, see U. S. D; 19th ed., p. 1474.