Diospyros kaki

Invasive species Disclaimer

In view of the fact that some tree species are invasive, the world Agroforestry Center (ICRAF) has put in place a policy document on Invasive Alien Species, currently under draft available at Here.

For more information on this subject, please refer to
100 of the World's worst Invasive and Alien Species.

Species Index    A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Multiple Criteria Search

Abelmoschus moschatus
Acacia aneura
Acacia angustissima
Acacia aulacocarpa
Acacia auriculiformis
Acacia catechu
Acacia cincinnata
Acacia crassicarpa
Acacia elatior
Acacia erioloba
Acacia etbaica
Acacia ferruginea
Acacia glauca
Acacia holosericea
Acacia karroo*
Acacia koa
Acacia laeta
Acacia lahai
Acacia leptocarpa
Acacia leucophloea
Acacia mangium
Acacia mearnsii*
Acacia melanoxylon
Acacia mellifera
Acacia nilotica subsp nilotica
Acacia pachycarpa
Acacia pennatula
Acacia polyacantha ssp. polyacantha
Acacia saligna
Acacia senegal
Acacia seyal
Acacia sieberiana
Acacia tortilis
Acacia xanthophloea
Acrocarpus fraxinifolius
Adansonia digitata
Adenanthera pavonina
Aegle marmelos
Afzelia africana
Afzelia quanzensis
Agathis macrophylla
Agathis philippinensis
Ailanthus altissima
Ailanthus excelsa
Ailanthus triphysa
Albizia adianthifolia
Albizia amara
Albizia anthelmintica
Albizia chinensis
Albizia coriaria
Albizia ferruginea
Albizia gummifera
Albizia julibrissin
Albizia lebbeck
Albizia odoratissima
Albizia procera
Albizia saman
Albizia versicolor
Albizia zygia
Aleurites moluccana
Allanblackia floribunda
Allanblackia stuhlmannii
Allanblackia ulugurensis
Alnus acuminata
Alnus cordata
Alnus japonica
Alnus nepalensis
Alnus rubra
Alphitonia zizyphoides
Alstonia boonei
Alstonia congensis
Alstonia scholaris
Altingia excelsa
Anacardium occidentale
Andira inermis
Annona cherimola
Annona muricata
Annona reticulata
Annona senegalensis
Annona squamosa
Anogeissus latifolia
Anthocephalus cadamba
Antiaris toxicaria
Antidesma bunius
Araucaria bidwillii
Araucaria cunninghamii
Arbutus unedo
Areca catechu
Arenga pinnata
Argania spinosa
Artemisia annua
Artocarpus altilis
Artocarpus camansi
Artocarpus heterophyllus
Artocarpus integer
Artocarpus lakoocha
Artocarpus mariannensis
Asimina triloba
Ateleia herbert-smithii
Aucomea klaineana
Averrhoa bilimbi
Averrhoa carambola
Azadirachta excelsa
Azadirachta indica
Azanza garckeana
Related Links
Tree with fruits.
© Arnoldo Mondadori Editore SpA
Fruit in Frascati (Italy) fresh fruit market selling for Italian Lire 4,000/Kg., i.e. $(US)2.00/Kg at exchange rate when picture was taken in December, 2000.
© Putter CAJ
Detail of fruit and seed.
© Unknown

Local names:
English (persimmon,oriental persimmon,keg fig,kaki plum tree,Chinese fig,Chinese plum,Japanese persimmon,date plum), French (kaki,Plaqueminier kaki), German (Kakipflaumenbaum), Italian (cachi), Japanese (kaki), Spanish (kaki del Japon,caqui,kaki)

Diospyros kaki is a multi-stemmed or sometimes single-stemmed deciduous tree up to 6(-18) m tall and typically round-topped, fairly open, erect or semi-erect, sometimes crooked or willowy; seldom with a spread of more than 4.5-6 m. Branches somewhat brittle and can be damaged in high winds.

Leaves alternate, entire, ovate-elliptic, oblong-ovate, or obovate, 7.5-25 cm long, 5-10 cm wide, leathery, glossy on the upper surface, brown-silky beneath; bluish-green, turning in the fall to rich yellow, orange or red; petioles 2 cm long, brown-hairy.

Flowers inconspicuous surrounded by a green calyx tube, borne in leaf axils of new growth from one-year old wood. Female flowers solitary, cream-colored; male flowers pink-tinged, borne in threes. Commonly, 1-5 flowers per twig emerge as the new growth extends. 

Fruit round, conical, oblate, or nearly square, capped by the persistent calyx, skin thin, smooth, glossy, yellow, orange, red or brownish-red; flesh yellow, orange, or dark-brown, juicy, gelatinous, seedless or containing 4-8 seeds. Generally, the flesh is bitter and astringent until fully ripe, when it becomes soft, sweet and pleasant, but dark-fleshed types may be non-astringent, crisp, sweet and edible even before full ripening.

Seed flat, oblong, brown, 2 cm long.

From the Greek diospyros, composed of dios (divine), and pyros (grain), from the edible fruit of some species. The specific epithet is derived from the Japanese word for plant, kaki-no-ki.


D. kaki needs a subtropical to mild-temperate climate. It may not fruit in tropical lowlands. In Brazil, the tree is considered suitable for all zones favourable to Citrus, but those zones with the coldest winters induce the highest yields. The atmosphere may range from semi-arid to one of high humidity.

Native range
China, India, Japan, Myanmar

Tree management

The soil should be well prepared–deeply plowed and enriched with organic matter. Trees should be set out at spacing ranging from 4.5 x l.5 m to 6 x 6 m, depending on the habit of the cultivar. In Japan, 1 000 plants/ha may be planted at the outset, and thinned down to 200 trees/ha in 10-15 years.

Good results have been obtained with a fertilizer mixture of 4-6% N, 8-10% P and 3-6% K at the rate of 0.45 kg/tree per year of age. Over-fertilization or excessive amounts of nitrogen fertilizer causes shedding of fruits.

Young trees are pruned back to 0.7-0.9 m when planted and later the new shoots are thinned with a view to forming a well-shaped tree. Annual pruning during the first 4-5 winters is desirable in some cultivars. If a tree tends to overbear and shows signs of decline, it should be drastically cut back to give it a fresh start. After flowering, the trees should be irrigated every 3 weeks on light soil, every month on heavier soil, until time for harvest. The annual yield of a young tree ranges from 22.6-40.8 kg; of a full-grown tree, 150-250 kg.

Stratification is recommended for all persimmon seeds.

D. kaki needs a subtropical to mild-temperate climate. It may not fruit in tropical lowlands. In Brazil, the tree is considered suitable for all zones favourable to Citrus, but those zones with the coldest winters induce the highest yields. The atmosphere may range from semi-arid to one of high humidity.

Propagation is by seed, root suckers or grafting onto wild rootstocks. Seeds for the production of rootstocks need no pretreatment. They are planted in seedbeds or directly in the nursery 20-30 cm apart and 0.9-1.06 m between the rows. After a season of growth, they may be whip-grafted close to the surface of the soil, using freshly cut scions or scions from dormant trees kept moist in sphagnum moss.

Cleft grafting is preferred on larger stock and for top-working old trees. In India, cleft-grafting on stem has been 88.9% successful, low germination rates of planted seeds has been traced to dry rot caused by Penicillium sp. It can be controlled by pretreatment with an appropriate fungicide.

Poison:  Juice of small, inedible wild fruits, crushed whole, calyx, seeds and all, is diluted with water and painted on paper or cloth as an insect- and moisture-repellent.

  Fully ripe fruits are usually eaten out-of-hand. The flesh may be added to salads, blended with ice cream mix or yoghurt, used in pastries, puddings, mousse, or made into jam or marmalade. Ripe fruits can be frozen whole or pulped. Drying is commonly practiced. Roasted seeds have served as a coffee substitute. Tea can also be made from fresh or dried leaves. Kaki is high in vitamin and a moderate source of ascorbic acid.

Timber:  Wood fairly hard and heavy, black with streaks of orange-yellow, salmon, brown or grey; close-grained; takes a smooth finish and is prized in Japan for fancy inlays, though it has an unpleasant odor.

Tannin or dyestuff: Tannin from unripe fruits has been employed in brewing sake, also in dyeing and as a wood preservative. 

Medicine: A decoction of the calyx and fruit stem is sometimes taken to relieve hiccups, coughs and labored respiration.

Ornamental:  It is a handsome ornamental with drooping leaves and branches that give it a languid, rather tropical appearance.

Trees can be planted as a hedge or as a screen if pruned heavily.

Alcohol:  Fruit may be converted into molasses, cider, beer and wine.