Date Plum (diospyros, from Gr. the grain of Jove), a genus of large, hard-wooded, thick-leaved trees belonging to the natural order ebenacece. They have single, axillary flowers, with a four-cleft and sometimes five-cleft calyx and corolla, and eight or sometimes more stamens. The fruit of all the principal species is nearly egg-shaped, and its flesh is soft and pulpy; in size, however, it greatly varies with the different kinds. Among the most important species are those producing ebony. These are D. reticulata, growing in the Mauritius; D. rnelanoxylon and D. edenaster, from which the East Indian ebony is obtained; and D. elenum, from which comes the Ceylon ebony. The ebony is only the core of the tree; the outer wood is soft and light-colored. D. qucesita also has a very hard and beautiful ornamental wood, much used for cabinet purposes in Ceylon, where the tree is found. The principal species of which the fruit is used are the D. Tcahi or Chinese date plum, whose fruit is about the size of a small apple, with a soft, plum-like pulp; and the familiar D. Virgini-ana, so well known in America as the persimmon.
The fruit of the latter is small, yellow, and pulpy; it has an exceedingly acid flavor, and is only eatable when entirely ripe, or touched by frost. In the southern states persimmons are used for a variety of purposes, and a kind of liquor is made from them. An infusion of the bark has been used as a febrifuge, and is said to be efficacious in cases of diarrhoea.
Chinese Date Plum (Diospyros kaki).
Persimmon (Diospyros Virginiana).