Diospyros kaki L.f.

Last updated: 10 Aug 2016

Scientific Name

Diospyros kaki L.f.


Diospyros amara Perrier, Diospyros argyi H.Lév., Diospyros bertii André, Diospyros chinensis Blume [Invalid], Diospyros costata Carrière, Diospyros kaempferi Naudin, Diospyros kaki var. aurantium André, Diospyros kaki var. domestica Makino, Diospyros kaki var. elliptica André, Diospyros kaki var. kaki, Diospyros kaki var. macrantha Hand.-Mazz., Diospyros kaki var. sahuti André, Diospyros kaki var. domestica Makino, Diospyros kaki var. elliptica André, Diospyros kaki var. kaki, Diospyros kaki var. macrantha Hand.-Mazz., Diospyros kaki var. sahuti André, Diospyros kaki var. silvestris Makino, Diospyros lycopersicon Carrière, Diospyros mazelii E.Morren, Diospyros roxburghii Carrière, Diospyros mazelii E.Morren, Diospyros roxburghii Carrière, Diospyros schi-tse Bunge, Diospyros schitze Bunge, Diospyros sinensis Naudin, Diospyros sphenophylla Hiern, Diospyros trichocarpa R.H.Miao, Diospyros wieseneri Carrière, Embryopteris kaki (Thunb.) G.Don. [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Buah kaki, buah samak [2]
English Chinese date, Chinese date plum, Chinese persimmon, date plum, Japanese persimmon, kaki, kaki persimmon, keg-fig, Oriental persimmon, persimmon [2]
China Hung shih, juan tsao, lin shih, pai shih, shi, shi di shih, shih ping, shih shuang, wu shih [2]
India Dieng iong, halwa, kaaki chendu, kaaki thendu [2]
Indonesia Buah kaki, kesemek [2]
Thailand Phlap chin [2]
Cambodia Tonloëp [2]
Vietnam Hông, thi [2].

Geographical Distributions

Diospyros kaki is one of the classical fruits of China, from where it was introduced in ancient times to Japan. China and Japan remain the main areas of commercial cultivation but smaller centres have developed in Italy, Israel, Brazil and United States (California). In South-East Asia it is grown on a limited scale in Java, Sumatra, Malaysia and Northern Thailand; the material — astringent types — was introduced from China in recent times. [3]

Botanical Description

D. kaki is a member of the Ebenaceae family. It is a slow-growing, shrubby, dioecious (sometimes monoecious), deciduous tree, that can grow up to 15 m tall, with a short crooked trunk and a profusely branched crown. [3]

The leaves are distichous, arranged alternately and short-petioled. The petiole is up to 3 cm long. The leaf blade is ovate-orbicular to elliptic, measuring 5-25 cm x 2.5-15 cm, with obtuse or rounded apex, short acuminate, coriaceous and shiny dark green. [3]

The inflorescences consist of either small 3-5-flowered cymes of male flowers or of solitary female flowers. In some cultivars, the central flower of an otherwise male cluster is hermaphrodite. [3]

The flowers are 4-merous and greenish-yellow. The male flowers are with petal that is as long as the sepal, with 14-24 stamens inserted in pairs on the base of the petal. The female flowers are stalked and drooping, with two oblong-lance-shaped foliaceous green bracts, measuring up to 2.5 cm x 1 cm, with 4-lobed bell-shaped sepal measuring up to 4 cm x 6 cm and with 4-lobed tubular-bell-shaped petal. There are 8 or 16 staminodes and 8-or 10-celled ovary with 1 ovule per cell. [3]

The fruit is a depressed, obtusely quadrangular to nearly globular berry, resembling a tomato and even more variable in size, yellowish-green to red and with enlarged persisting sepal. The mesocarp is thick and edible, in which thin jackets of edible endocarp are embedded around each seed or locule. [3]

There are 0-10 seeds which are ovoid-oblong and flattened on one side. [3]


Although of subtropical origin, D. kaki is adaptable to a range of warm temperate climates, including those in tropical highlands. Experience in Southeast Asia indicates that a prominent seasonal climate is not required. Cultivation is successful in the highlands above 1000 m; but there are examples of trees bearing in the lowlands, e.g. in Kuching (Sarawak). Sheltered sites are important to prevent wind from damaging the tender young foliage and to prevent blemishes occurring on the fruit. The trees tolerate a wide range of soils, but it is much easier to sustain high yields on well-drained deep soils that are not too heavy. The recommended pH is between 5.5-6.5. [3]

Chemical Constituent

Isolation from methanol extract of the leaves of D. kaki has been reported to contain two ursane-type triterpenoids, 3-α,19-α-dihydroxyurs-12,20(30)-dien-24,28-dioc acid and 3-α,19-α-dihydroxyurs-12-en-24,28-dioc acid together with 12 known ursane- and oleanane-type triterpenoids, barbinervic acid, rotungenic acid and 24-hydroxy ursolic acid. [4][5]

Diospyros kaki leaves has been reported to contain kakispyrone, kakisaponin A, 4’5-dimethoxy-3-β-D-glucopyranosyloxy-4-hydroxy-biphenyl derivative named kakispyrol, vitexin, 2’-O-rhamnosyl vitexin, kaempferol 3-O-β-D-galactopyranoside, kaempferol 3-O-β-D-glucopyranoside, isorhamnetin-3-O-β-D-glucopyranoside, quercetin 3-O-β-D-galactopyranoside, quercetin and 3-O-β-D-glucopyranosyl-(6à1)-α-L-rhamnopyranoside. [6][7][8]

Plant Part Used

Fruit, calyx, peduncle. [9]

Traditional Use

The dried ripe fruit of D. kaki is ingested to treat bronchial complaints. The dried calyces and peduncles of the fruit are used by the Chinese to treat cough and dsypnea. The raw ripe fruit is ingested in cases of constipation and haemorrhoids. The cooked ripe fruit is used to treat diarrhoea. The calyces are ingested to relieve hiccups and internal haemorrhage. [9]

This astringent and expectorant herb has also been claimed to stop haemorrhage and lower hypertension. [9]

Preclinical Data


Radical scavenging activity

This study looks into the radical scavenging activity of astringent persimmon (Diospyros kaki L. cv Mopan) against 2,2'-azinobis-(3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid) or ABTS and 2,2-Diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl or DPPH radical. This study also includes investigation on the content of total and individual of 6 phenolics such as catechin, epicatechin, epigallocatechin, chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid and gallic acid) with other fruits (apple, grape and tomato) as controls. For the Mopan persimmon, the DPPH radical scavenging activity was found to be 22.597 microm trolox equivalent/g FW, and the antioxidant activity determined by ABTS method was found to be 23.575 microm trolox equivalent/g FW. A good positive correlation R2=0.933, ABTS radical; R2=0.980, DPPH radical was obtained with the antioxidative activity and total phenol content. Gallic acid demonstrates the strongest antioxidant activity in all 6 phenolics and its content is the largest in the Mopan persimmon. This is presumed to contribute to the higher antioxidant activity as compared to the other fruits. [10]

Antioxidant and antigenotoxic activities

The five flavonoid compounds kaempferol 3-O-β-D -galactopyranoside (TR), kaempferol 3-O-β-D-glucopyranoside (AS), isorhamnetin 3-O-β-D -glucopyranoside (IS), quercetin 3-O-β-D-galactopyranoside (HY), quercetin 3-O-β-D-glucopyranosyl-(6→1)-α-L-rhamnopyranoside (RU) isolated from the leaves of Diospyros kaki were investigated on the stimulus-induced superoxide generation and phosphorylation of tyrosine residues of protein in human neutrophils. The cells were preincubated with these five compounds. The arachidonic acid (AA)-induced superoxide generation was suppressed by TR, AS, HY and RU. On the other hand, IS weakly enhanced the superoxide generation in low concentration (5–20 μmol/L), but was suppressed in high concentration (50 μmol/L). The five flavonoids showed almost no hemolytic effect even at a concentration of 500 μmol/L. The study concluded that flavonoid compounds suppressed stimulus-induced superoxide generation and tyrosyl phosphorylation and may have pharmaceutical application. [8]

In another study investigation was carried out to examine the effects of flavonoids from the leaves of D. kaki L (FLDK-P70) on hydrogen peroxide (H2O2)-induced apoptosis-like damage of NG108-15 cells. The results indicate that FLDK-P70 may be potentially used in the prevention and treatment of ischemia/reperfusion injury and other neurodegenerative disease. Upregulating bcl-2 expression and improving cellular redox state by FLDK-P70 may play critical roles in attenuating oxidative injury. [11]

A study investigates the effect of a heat treatment on the total phenolic concentration, and antioxidative and antigenotoxic activities of persimmon peel (PP) extracts in order to evaluate its potential as a natural antioxidant source for medicinal and food application. The 70% ethanol extract (EE) and water extract (WE) of PP showed significant scavenging activity toward reactive oxygen species. The genotoxic effect of H2O2 and the protective ability of the PP extracts were assessed in normal human lymphocytes by a comet assay. The results showed that EE and WE both prevented H2O2-induced DNA damage to human peripheral lymphocytes. The study concluded that heat treatment increased the total phenolic concentration, and the antioxidative and antigenotoxic activities of the ethanol and water extracts of PP. [12]

Another study investigates the effect of persimmon peel polyphenol (PPP) on high glucose-induced oxidative stress using oxidative-stress susceptible cells, the LLC-PK1 cells. The study reports that treatment with both high molecular-PPP (HMPPP) and low molecular-PPP (LMPPP) dose-independently reduced the intracellular reactive oxygen species level increased by 30 mM glucose treatment. LMPPP was noted to exhibit stronger inhibitory activities on high glucose induced oxidative stress than HMPPP. These findings indicate the potential benefits of persimmon peel as a valuable source of antioxidants in the diabetic condition that will reduce the oxidative stress induced by hyperglycemia. [13]

Acaricidal activity

House dust mites are not possible to see easily, because they are very small and transparent. Accordingly, a study was carried out to develop a mite indicator that can easily distinguish the dust mites with the naked eyes. From this point of view, the function of a mite indicator and its acaricidal effect was evaluated using the active component plumbagin and its derivatives isolated from D. kaki roots against Dermatophagoides farinae and D. pteronyssinus. The acaricidal activities of plumbagin and its derivatives (naphthazarin, dichlon, 2,3-dibromo-1,4-naphthoquinone, and 2-bromo-1,4- naphthoquinone) were compared with that of commercial benzyl benzoate against D. farinae and D. pteronyssinus. The results showed various responses according to dosage and mite species. On the basis of LD50 values, the most toxic compound against D. farinae was naphthazarin (0.011 μg/cm2) followed by plumbagin (0.019 μg/cm2), 2- bromo-1,4-naphthoquinone (0.079 μg/cm2), dichlon (0.422 μg/cm2), and benzyl benzoate (9.14 μg/cm2). Furthermore, plumbagin and its derivatives were shown to have a high capability as mite indicators as demonstrated by the change in skin colour of the dust mites from colourless-transparent to dark brown-black. However, little or no discolouration was observed for benzyl benzoate. The study concluded that plumbagin and its derivatives can be very useful in removing allergens, as potential mite control agents, lead compounds, indicator of house dust mites, and in prevention of allergic disease. [14]

Anticancer activity

The effect of persimmon (D. kaki) extract (PS) and related polyphenol compounds such as catechin (C), epicatechin (EC), epicatechingallate (ECG), epigallocatechin (EGC), and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) were investigated on the growth of human lymphoid leukemia Molt 4B cells and calf thymus DNA α-polymerase. The results demonstrated that PS, ECG, EGC strongly inhibited the growth of the cells in a dose-dependent manner by inducing apoptosis (programmed cell death) of Molt 4B cells. It was also found that the activity of DNA α-polymerase was strongly inhibited by EGCG, ECG and PS, especially PS being the most potent among these polyphenols. Persimmon extract was observed to inhibit [3H]thymidine incorporation of human peripheral lymphocyte cells stimulated by Polyhydroxyalkanoate or PHA. [15][16]


No documentation

Clinical Data

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Poisonous Management

Toxic parts

No documentation

Line drawing


Figure 1: The line drawing of D. kaki. [3]


  1. The Plant List. Ver 1.1. Diospyros kaki L.f. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2012 Mar 23; cited 2016 Aug 10]. Available from: http://www.theplantlist.org/tpl1.1/record/kew-2769959
  2. Quattrocchi U. CRC World dictionary of medicinal and poisonous plants: Common names, scientific names, eponyms, synonyms, and etymology. Volume II C-D. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press, 2012; p. 730.
  3. Van Eijnatten CLM. Diospyros kaki L.f. In: Verheij EWM, Coronel RE, editors. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 2: Edible fruits and nuts. Wageningen, Netherlands: Pudoc, 1991; p. 154-157.
  4. Thuong PT, Lee CH, Dao TT, et al. Triterpenoids from the leaves of Diospyros kaki (Persimmon) and their inhibitory effects on protein tyrosine phosphatase 1B. J Nat Prod. 2008:71(10);1775-1778.
  5. Fan JP, He CH. Simultaneous quantification of three major bioactive triterpene acids in the leaves of Diospyros kaki by high-performance liquid chromatography method. J Pharma Biomed Anal. 2006:41(3);950-956.
  6. Chen G, Xue J, Xu SX, Zhang RQ. Chemical constituents of the leaves of Diospyros kaki and their cytotoxic effects. J Asian Nat Prod Res. 2007:9(3-5);347-353.
  7. Chen G, Xu SX, Wang HZ, Zhang RQ. Kakispyrol, a new biphenyl derivative from the leaves of Diospyros kaki. J Asian Nat Prod Res. 2005:7(3);265-268.
  8. Chen G, Lu H, Wang C, et al. Effect of five flavonoid compounds isolated from the leaves of Diospyros kaki on stimulus-induced superoxide generation and tyrosyl phosphorylation of proteins in human neutrophils. Clinica Chimica Acta. 2002: 326(1-2); 169-175.
  9. Herbal Medicine Research Centre, Institute for Medical Research. Compendium of medicinal plants used in Malaysia. Volume 1. Kuala Lumpur: HMRC IMR, 2002; p. 274
  10. Chen XN, Fan JF, Yue X, Wu XR, Li LT. Radical scavenging activity and phenolic compounds in persimmon (Diospyros kaki L.cv Mopan). J Food Sci. 2008:73(1):C24-28 .
  11. Bei W, Peng W, Ma Y, Xu A. Flavonoids from the leaves of Diospyros kaki reduce hydrogen peroxide-induced injury of NG108-15 cells.Life Sciences. 2005:76(17);1975-88.
  12. Kim SY, Jeong SM, Kim SJ, Jeon KI, Park E, et. al. Effect of heat treatment on the antioxidative and antigenotoxic activity of extracts from persimmon (Diospyros kaki L) peel. Biosci. Biotechnol\. Biochem. 2006:70 (4);999-1002.
  13. Yokozawa T, Kim YA, Kim HY, Lee YA, Nonaka G. Protective effect of persimmon peel polyphenol against high glucose-induced oxidative stress in LLC-PK1 cells. Food and Chemical Toxicology. 2007:45(10);1979-1987.
  14. Lee CH, Lee HS. Acaricidal activity and function of mite indicator using plumbagin and its derivatives isolated from Diospyros kaki Thunb. roots (Ebenaceae). J Microbiol Biotechnol. 2008:18(2);314–321.
  15. Achiwa Y, Hibasami H, Katsuzaki H, Imai K, Komiya T. Inhibitory effects of persimmon (Diospyros kaki) extract and related polyphenol compounds on growth of human lymphoid leukemia cells. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 1997:61(7);1099-1101.
  16. Umekawa H, Takada Y, Furuichi Y, Takahashi T, Achiwa Y, Komiya T, et. al. Inhibition of eukaryotic DNA polymerase alpha by persimmon (Diospyros kaki) extract and related polyphenols. Biochem Mol Biol Int. 1999:47(5);795-801.