Native persimmons grow here along a fence. Tart and astringent, they'll be sweet after frost. Critters will find them. Sometimes broken branches from the weight of a raccoon are all that are left when I visit again after frost.
Our native persimmon, Diospyros virginiana, is found from Florida north to Connecticut, west to Iowa and south to Texas.
Not far from the persimmon trees, I found the burrow of a gopher tortoise, Gopherus polyphemus. Notice the reddish soil around the opening. Clay soil is about two feet down into the earth here. The size of the opening to the burrow is indicative of the size of the turtle. Gopher tortoises are listed as a threatened species in Georgia and Florida.
Frequently a gopher turtle will site his burrow near a colony of silkgrass, pityopsis graminifolia. I've seen them eating silkgrass. In spring, silkgrass is a clump of glaucous grass with silvery reverse. In fall, the tall stems hold aster-like yellow blossoms.
"...Everything affecting the gopher tortoise's habitat affects the tortoise and ... eventually affects all other organisms in its ecosystem. Efforts to save the gopher tortoise are really a manifestation of our desire to preserve intact, significant pieces of the biosphere.
...We must preserve...the gopher tortoise and other species in similar predicaments, for if we do not, we lose a part of our humanity, a part of our habitat, and ultimately our world."
---Dr. George W. Folkerts, Department of Zoology, Auburn University, Alabama