In the genus Diospyros, there is a plant called persimmon, which is an edible fruit. On the upper surface, persimmon trees are leathery and shiny, brown and silky underneath. The leaves have a blue-green color. They will turn yellow, orange, or red once the fall comes. The trees are usually dioecious, meaning that the plant produces male and female flowers on separate trees.
|Botanical Name||Diospyros Virginiana (American Persimmon)|
|Plant Type||Perennial Tree|
|Size (Fully Grown)||Can Grow Even 30 To 70 Feet High (About 9 To 21 Meters)|
|Sun Exposure||Full Sun|
|Soil Type||Well-draining And Loamy Soil That Is Rich In Organic Matter|
|Soil pH||From 6.0 To 6.5|
|Flower Color||Depending On The Variety, White, Cream, Or Grey|
|U.S. Hardiness Zones||4, 5, 6, 7, 8, And 9|
How Many Persimmon Varieties Are There?
All varieties are split into two fruit types, astringent and non-astringent. Astringent persimmons such as Hachiya are high in tannins, and if they are not fully mature, they can leave your mouth dry and puckery. Non-astringent ones are delicious to eat fresh from the tree because they are juicy and sweet, such as the Fuyu and Jiro varieties.
It would be best to wait until they are fully mature to enjoy eating astringent varieties. This usually requires that a “puckering” form of persimmon is left for a few days after it has been selected to allow it to mature. When their flesh becomes tender, you can see that the fruits are sweet and prepared to eat. Finally, you can bite into this juicy fruit!
But before your rush to your local grocery store to get this excellent fruit, let’s look at some of the varieties:
- Great Wall
- Hana Fuyu
- Nikita’s Gift
- Maekawa Jiro
Where Are Persimmons Originally From?
For more than two thousand years, Persimmons have been cultivated in China. And believe me or not, there are over 950 recognized cultivars currently existing.
Astringent types are the majority of persimmons produced around the world. But recent trends in breeding programs are gaining popularity in China, Japan, Brazil, and Europe, and new plantings in many producing countries worldwide display non-astringent types.
Persimmons are available worldwide as fresh, dried, or in processed form all year round. From Israel, they can be bought as “Sharon fruit.” In most Asian and European markets, dried persimmons from China and Japan are available throughout the year.
From Australia and New Zealand, they are now sold in various countries in Southeast Asia. Persimmons have a unique significance in many Asian cultures and are used in religious offerings during the festive seasons.
What Does The Persimmon Tree Look Like?
Persimmon is a small tree that can sometimes be up to 33 feet (about 10 meters) high. Physical description of the tree and fruit is as follows:
The leaves are small to medium in size and broad in shape, ovate, or lanceolate, with an average length of 4,7 to 6,7 (about 12-17 cm) and 1,9 to 4 inches (approximately 5 to 10 centimeters width.
The leaves grow in an alternate pattern and, with smooth edges that taper to a point on the non-stem end, are flat, glossy, and rigid.
This tree produces dioecious fragrant flowers, which means that each tree only has flowers with one gender. The persimmon trees can bear round orange fruits at about six years of age upon pollination by wind and insects.
The fruit’s diameter is between 1.2 – 2 inches (about 3 to 5 cm) and is usually very flattened and dark red to maroon in color. Most fruits contain several flattened seeds that are very large.
The American persimmon fruit is generally considered in its softened state to be more flavorful than the Japanese species, and large quantities are collected from the wild.
Where Do Persimmons Grow Best?
Like many other plants, the tree tolerates various soil types, but they still grow best in nutrient-rich, well-draining soil. So, plant your tree in a full sun spot in a hole just big enough to spread out the roots and take care of proper irrigation. The best growing conditions for persimmons are as follows:
The best climate for the trees in the United States are hardiness zones 4 through 9. This is because the American persimmon can tolerate temperatures that are down to even -25°F (about -31°C), while the Asian persimmon can still handle winter temperatures down to 0°F (about -17.7°C).
What Kind Of Soil Do Persimmon Trees Like?
The best way to grow persimmons is to plant the tree in loamy soil. Other soil types are still suitable, but it’s essential to ensure that drainage works well. For example, even clay soil is workable if it drains well. But try to remember that the preferred pH for the ground is somewhere between 6.0 and 6.5.
How Much Sun Do Persimmon Trees Need?
Like many other fruit trees and fruit-producing plants, the trees grow best in full sun. But partial shade, especially some afternoon shade in climates where intense sunlight and heat can cause plant stress, is a good thing.
Water And Fertilizer
After you have planted your persimmon tree and preferably used a seedling instead of seeds, remember to water it regularly so the roots can establish themselves. A good watering habit for a fruit tree that you’ve just planted is once every day for the first two weeks. When the tree has been on the ground for three weeks to three months, lower the watering schedule by watering once every two to three days.
After the tree has grown for over three months, once per week should be enough. Of course, the watering schedule depends on the temperature and amount of rainfall mother nature provides.
When it comes to fertilizing, a persimmon tree doesn’t need a lot of it. But if you feel that the tree won’t get enough nutrients from the ground, I recommend one thing. You can use a 10-10-10 or a 10-20-20 fertilizer once per year. For example, use it in late winter or spring when the tree grows again.
Is It Safe To Eat / Consume Persimmons?
We know that persimmons have plenty of health benefits. But do you have a common medical problem, or are you pregnant? If you said yes to the being pregnant part, congratulations! But, expecting mothers and people who have a medical condition usually need to be aware of what they eat. So let’s find out whether eating persimmons is safe or not.
Pregnant And Breastfeeding Women
Thankfully eating persimmon during pregnancy is completely safe. But remember to eat it in moderation! The biggest reason to eat them during pregnancy is their high phosphorus and calcium content. Especially calcium is beneficial for the fetus’s bone growth.
Persimmon is also an excellent plant for breastfeeding mothers. As we know, mothers who have given birth are usually more prone to diseases because their immune system is weak. Fortunately, it is a plant that boosts your immune system. But as always, remember to eat in moderation.
Persimmons are a great addition to your kid’s diet. Even kids as young as 8 to 10 months can eat it. How cool is that?
Also, the best part is that persimmons aren’t considered highly allergenic, and they are easy to prepare, plus the taste is excellent. So even though they don’t have a high risk, make sure to ask this from your doctor before presenting them to your baby.
People With Allergies
Believe me or not, only a few cases have been reported about an allergic reaction to persimmon fruit! Dust mites have also triggered one severe anaphylactic reaction, but nothing more serious hasn’t been recorded. So, as you might expect, an allergy to this plant is extremely rare, and I wouldn’t be concerned if you ever accidentally eat a portion of food containing persimmon or are trying it for the first time.
People With Diabetes
If you eat persimmons and have diabetes, you’ve made a great choice. The main reason why I recommend you to eat this magnificent fruit is that it slows down sugar absorption, which, in other words, helps prevent your body from experiencing blood sugar spikes.
Consequently, yes, persimmon is safe for people with diabetes!
Persimmons are safe for both cats and dogs, and best of all, they are nutritious and filled with vitamins A and C. However, I need to remind you that this fruit’s pits and seeds can cause an intestinal blockage that might cause different problems, so NEVER give them to your pets. What’s more, there is a risk of your pet getting diarrhea if it eats too many persimmons.
Featured image credit – © Yeongsik Im – stock.adobe.com