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Black Plum

Diospyros australis
Ebenaceae
Black Plum
Occasional

This is a shrub or small tree, which can be identified by the yellow or yellowish-green underside of the alternate leaves. These are dark-green on the upper surface, thick, 4-10 cm long, with smooth edges, a blunt or rounded tip and a short leaf stalk (2-5 mm long). On established bushes, the branchlets can be seen to zig-zag, and the leaves are arranged in 2 distinct rows.

The small, creamy-green flowers are seen in spring and summer. The male and female flowers are carried on separate plants, the male flowers in small clusters in the forks of the leaves, whereas the slightly larger female, flowers are 1-3 together.

The female trees bear shiny, black fruit up to 2 cm in diameter, which ripen in autumn-winter. There is a single seed and the flesh is dark purple, edible and quite palatable when soft. Black Plum can be grown from fresh, cleaned seed which may take 2-3 months to germinate. The cultivated persimmons from Asia and North America belong to the same genus (Diospyros).

Distribution: Wandera State Forest (near Moruya NSW) to Atherton (Nth Q1d).