Sesquicentennial Tree Planting and Commemoration of the Beginning of the American Civil War
Ohio's elected leaders celebrated the Sesquicentennial of the Ohio Statehouse by planting a persimmon tree on Capitol Square.
About the Sesquicentennial Commemorative Tree:
Botanical name: Diospyros virginiana
Common name: Persimmon
Size 35-60 height with a spread of 20-35
Diospyros means "fruit of Zeus" and the persimmon is best known for its 1 to 1-½ inch fruit that ripens after frost in the autumn. The berry starts out green turning yellow then pale orange and is quite mushy in its ripe state. It was a staple in the diets of many Native American tribes and settlers who made bread, pudding, syrup and vinegar from the pulp, as the skin is very tannic tasting. During the Civil War, soldiers boiled persimmon seeds as a substitute for coffee beans. Today it is still a favorite among wildlife especially fox and raccoon. The delightfully fragrant flowers are dioecious, meaning a male and female tree is needed to produce fruit.
Although best known for its fruit, the dark gray, almost black, bark on the persimmon tree is very distinct. It becomes thicker with age and is broken into scaly, square blocks making it quite recognizable. The wood is very hard, smooth and non-warping which made it ideal for its traditional uses in making shuttles for textile looms, spinning wheels, and wooden shoe lasts. Modern uses include golf club heads, billiard cues, flooring and veneer.
Being quite adaptable to city growing conditions, the persimmon is an interesting native tree with a connection to the past and a promise to the future.