This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol2", by Nathaniel Lord Britton, Addison Brown. Also available from Amazon: An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 Volume Set..
Trees or shrubs, with broad leaves and lateral cymose racemose or solitary flowers, the pistillate commonly solitary, the staminate usually clustered. Calyx 4-6-cleft, enlarging in fruit. Corolla urceolate in our species, 4-6-lobed. Stamens 8-20 in the sterile flowers, few or several and mostly imperfect or none in the pistillate ones. Styles 2-6 in the pistillate flowers; ovary globose or ovoid, its cavities twice as many as the styles. Ovary rudimentary in the sterile flowers. Berry large, pulpy. Seeds 4-12, flat, oblong. [Greek, Zeus' wheat.]
About 160 species, abundant in Asia. Type species: Diospyros Lotus L.
Diospyros virginiana L. Sp. Pl. 1057. 1753.
A tree with maximum height of about 100° and trunk diameter of 2°, usually much smaller; bark hard, dark, furrowed. Leaves ovate or oval deciduous, pubescent when young, becoming glabrous, acute or acuminate, narrowed, rounded 01 subcordate at the base, dark green above, pale beneath, 2'-5' long; petioles 3 -10" long, loosely jointed with the twigs, the leaves falling away in drying; flowers mostly 4-parted; corolla greenish yellow, that of fertile flowers 5"-7" long, about twice as large as that of the sterile; stamens of sterile flowers about 16, those of pistillate 8 or fewer; fruit globose, about 1' long, reddish yellow and sweet when ripe, astringent when green, ripening after frost in the northern states.