Colin Mills, compiler of the Hortus Camdenensis, died in late November 2012 after a short illness. As he always considered the Hortus his legacy, it is his family's intention to keep the site running in perpetuity. It will not, however, be updated in the near future.

Diospyros ebenum Koenig ex Retz.

Frost tender, large tree with smooth branchlets, thick, elliptic leaves, to 15cm long, and small white flowers. The heart wood is jet black, very heavy and strong, considered to be the best form of ebony.  [RHSD, Hortus].

Horticultural & Botanical History

Diospyros ebenum was introduced to Britain in 1792.  D. edulis was introduced to Europe in 1824, although Don reported that ‘nothing is known of this plant but the name’.  ‘Edulis’ means eatable, presumably it was considered to have edible fruit.  [Don].  Curtis’s Botanical Magazine figures Diospyros sapota, which the author considered to be originally from South East Asia, where it was first described by Sonnerat.  The seeds and fruit were used by the natives of the Phillipines to make a wound liniment.  [BM t.3988/1843].

History at Camden Park

Listed only in the 1857 catalogue [T.388/1857].


Published Mar 12, 2009 - 05:25 PM | Last updated Mar 09, 2010 - 04:48 PM

Illustrated are lance-shaped leaves, small white flowers and fruit.  Curtis's Botanical Magazine t.3988, 1843.

Diospyros ebenum Koenig ex Retz. | BM t.3988/1843 | BHL

Family Ebenaceae
Region of origin

India to Indonesia

  • Diospyros sapota Roxb.
  • Diospyros edulis Lodd. Ex Sw.
Common Name

Ebony tree

Name in the Camden Park Record

Diospyrus edulis 

Confidence level high