Trees or shrubs with alternate, rarely opposite, entire lvs., deciduous or persistent, without atipules: fls. dicecious or polygamous in few or many-fid., axillary cymes,
the pistillate often solitary, yellowish or whitish; calyx and corolla 3-7-, usually 4-lobed ; stamens usually 8-16, included: fr. a large, juicy berry, 1-10-seeded, bearing usually the enlarged calyx at the base; seed flat. rather large. About 180 species in the tropics, few in colder climates. The few cultivated species are ornamental trees, with handsome. lustrous foliage, rarely attacked by insects and with decorative and edible fr. The only species which is tolerably hardy north is D. Virginiana, while D. Kaki. much cultivated in Japan for its large,edible fruits, is hardy only in the southern states. Most species have valuable hard and close-grained wood,and that of some tropical species is known as ebony.They thrive in almost any soil, but require, in cooler climates, sheltered and sunny positions. Prop. by seeds and by cuttings of half-ripened wood or layers; the
tropical species by cuttings of mature wood in spring, with bottom heat; the fruit-bearing varieties are usually grafted or budded on seedling stock of D. Virginiana. See Persimmon.