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Hard-leaved Monkey Plum is neither persimmon, nor ebony, nor for that matter Bladdernut

I kept seeing this shrub around Melbourne suburbs, with box-like foliage but clearly something different. In late winter it stands out with its glossy, red new leaves and, if you look closely, small white flowers a bit like a persimmon. It is definitely a Diospyros, the rather large genus that also includes persimmon and ebony . There is good information on the web about the two most likely species: Hard-leaved Monkey Plum , Diospyros scabrida var. cordata and Bladdernut , Diospyros whyteana . Both are from Africa, the first from eastern Cape to Natal Province in South Africa, the other from eastern Cape through to Ethiopia. But the detail of how these two species differ is a harder to track down (you can find a bit about what makes the Bladdernut distinctive but not what the Hard-leaved Monkey Plum has instead). So I browsed through our botanical library collection and found in the Flora of Southern Africa (volume 26, 1963) an account of the family Ebenaceae account b

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