Diospyros is a genus (including what used to be Maba) of about 450-500 species of deciduous and evergreen trees. The majority are native to the tropics, with only a few species extending into temperate climates. The genus includes species of commercial importance, either for their edible fruit (including the persimmons, D. kaki and D. virginiana) or for their timber. These include the two trade groups of ebony: the pure black ebony (notably D. ebenum, but also several other species) and the striped ebony (macassar, mun, and others). In most species in the genus this black ebony-type wood is (almost completely) absent: the timbers of such species may find restricted use, e.g. D. virginiana.

Diospyros species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Double-striped Pug, Eupseudosoma aberrans, Snowy Eupseudosoma and Hypercompe indecisa.


  • D. acris.
  • D. armata.
  • D. australis. East coast Australia.
  • D. canaliculata (syns. D. cauliflora, D. xanthochlamys).
  • D. celebica. Macassar Ebony.
  • D. chamaethamnus. Sand Apple
  • D. chloroxylon.
  • D. crassiflora. Gaboon Ebony.
  • D. confertifolia. Southeast Asia.
  • D. decandra. "gold apple" (Vietnamese "thị")
  • D. digyna. Black Persimmon, Black Sapote. Native to Mexico, and its fruit has green skin and white flesh when unripe and turns black when ripe.
  • D. discolor. Mabolo, Velvet-apple. Native to the Philippines. It is bright red when ripe.
  • D. ebenaster.
  • D. ebenum (syn. D. hebecarpa). Ebony. A tree of tropical Asia whose dark heartwood is used in cabinetwork.
  • D. embryopteris. Black & White Ebony, Pale Moon Ebony. Myanmar & Laos.
  • D. fasciculosa Australia.
  • D. fischeri (syn. Royena fischeri).
  • D. humilis Queensland ebony
  • D. insularis. New Guinea Ebony.
  • D. kaki. Kaki Persimmon. The most widely cultivated species, grown for its delicious fruit. This species, native to China, is deciduous, with broad, stiff leaves. Cultivation for the fruit extended first to other parts of east Asia, and later introduced to California and southern Europe in the 1800s.
  • D. kurzii. Marblewood, Andaman Marble.
  • D. lanceifolia. Southeast Asia.
  • D. lotus. Date-plum. native to southwest Asia and southeast Europe. Known to the ancient Greeks as "the fruit of the Gods", i.e., dios pyros, whence the scientific name of the genus. Its English name derives from the small fruit, which have a taste reminiscent of both plums and dates.
  • D. mabacea Red-fruited ebony, northern New South Wales - highly endangered species.
  • D. macrocalyx (syns. D. loureiroana, Royena macrocalyx).
  • D. major east coast Australia.
  • D. malabarica (Desr.) Kostel. Thailand.
  • D. maritima.
  • D. melanoxylon. Coromandel Ebony, East Indian Ebony, Tendu. The leaves of this species are harvested in India to manufacture bidi cigarettes with.
  • D. mespiliformis, Jackalberry (also Jackal Berry", Jakkalbessie, African Ebony'')
  • D. multiflora.
  • D. mun. Mun Ebony.
  • D. pavonii.
  • D. pentamera. Myrtle Ebony or Grey Persimmon. East coast of Australia.
  • D. samoensis.
  • D. sandwicensis. Lama. endemic to Hawaii.
  • D. siamang (syn. D. elliptifolia).
  • D. subrotata.
  • D. texana. Texas Persimmon. Many-branched shrub or small tree native to central and west Texas and southwest Oklahoma, where it grows on dry rocky hillsides. The fruit, smaller than those of the American Persimmon, are eaten by many species of birds and mammals. It was once used as a dye by Native Americans to tan hides.
  • D. trichophylla (syn. D. pruriens).
  • D. villosa (syn. Royena villosa).
  • D. virginiana. American Persimmon. Native to eastern North America.

Gallery of Diospyros chloroxylon

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