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Diospyros (Ebony, Persimmon, Star-apple, Jackal-berry genus)

Life > eukaryotes > Archaeoplastida > Chloroplastida > Charophyta > Streptophytina > Plantae (land plants) > Tracheophyta (vascular plants) > Euphyllophyta > Lignophyta (woody plants) > Spermatophyta (seed plants) > Angiospermae (flowering plants) > Eudicotyledons > Core Eudicots > Asterids > Order: Ericales > Family: Ebenaceae

About 475 species worldwide (cosmopolitan), of which 29 are native to southern Africa and a further five species are cultivated in the region. A number of species produce edible fruit or timber of commercial importance (e.g. ebony from India and Sri Lanka).

Species native in southern Africa

List from Plants of Southern Africa - an Online Checklist (SANBI), Flora of Zimbabwe and Flora of Mozambique.

Diospyros abyssinica

Recorded from Zimbabwe and Mozambique. See Flora of Zimbabwe.

 

Diospyros acocksii

 

Diospyros austro-africana

 

Diospyros batocana

Recorded from Zimbabwe. See Flora of Zimbabwe.

 

Diospyros chamaethamnus

 

Diospyros dichrophylla (Common star-apple)

 

Diospyros ferrea

Recorded from Zimbabwe.

 

Diospyros galpinii

 

Diospyros glabra

 

Diospyros glandulifera

 

Diospyros hoyleana

Recorded from Zimbabwe.

 

Diospyros inhacaensis

 

Diospyros kirkii

Recorded from Zimbabwe and Mozambique. See Flora of Zimbabwe.

 

Diospyros loureiriana

See Flora of Zimbabwe.

 

Diospyros lycioides (Blue-bush)

See Flora of Zimbabwe.

 

Diospyros mespiliformis (Jackal-berry)

See Flora of Zimbabwe.

 

Diospyros natalensis (Small-leaved jackal-berry)

 

Diospyros nummularia

See Flora of Zimbabwe.

 

Diospyros pallens

 

Diospyros quiloensis

Recorded from Zimbabwe and Mozambique. See Flora of Zimbabwe.

 

Diospyros ramulosa

 

Diospyros rotundifolia

See Flora of Mozambique.

 

Diospyros scabrida

 

Diospyros senensis

Recorded from Zimbabwe and Mozambique. See Flora of Zimbabwe.

 

Diospyros simii (Climbing star-apple)

 

Diospyros squarrosa

Recorded from Zimbabwe and Mozambique. See Flora of Zimbabwe.

 

Diospyros villosa

 

Diospyros virgata

 

Diospyros whyteana (Bladdernut)

See Flora of Zimbabwe.

Diospyros whyteana (Bladdernut)

Other species, cultivated in southern Africa

List from Glen (2002).

Diospyros discolor (Butter-fruit, Mabola)

Native to the Philippines.

 

Diospyros ebenaster

Native to Central America.

 

Diospyros kaki (Chinese persimmon, Japanese persimmon)

Native to China and Japan. Cultivated for its fruit, which are eaten fresh or dried. Fruit are also used as a sugar source in its native distribution.

 

Diospyros lotus (Date plum) 

Native distribution extends from the Caucasus through to India. The fruit is eaten fresh or dried. 

 

Diospyros virginiana (Persimmon)

Native to E USA. Fruit is eaten and the wood is also useful.

 

Other species of importance

Diospyros ebenum (Ebony)

Native to India and Sri Lanka. This is the main species producing the black-coloured timber referred to as ebony. Other species, such as Diospyros montana (Bombay ebony; native from India through to SE Asia) and Diospyros haplostylis from Madagascar, also yield timber referred to as ebony. Ebony is used in the manufacture of furniture and fine ornaments.

 

Publications

  • Glen, H.F. 2002. Cultivated plants of southern Africa. Jacana, Johannesburg.

  • Jordaan, M. 2003. Ebenaceae. In Germishuizen, G. & Meyer, N.L. (eds), Plants of southern Africa: an annotated checklist. Strelitzia 14: 421-423. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.

  • Mabberley, D.J. 1987.The Plant-book. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

 

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