Persimmon Fruit Facts Page Information
Availability by variety
Persommon, common name for trees of a genus of the ebony family. The common
persimmon is native to the eastern United States, growing wild from Connecticut
and Iowa south to Florida and Texas; it grows up to 15 m (up to 50 ft) and has
oblong leaves and unisexual flowers. The edible fruit is a large berry about
the size of an apricot, with a tomatolike skin.
The persimmon tree yields a heavy, hard, close-grained wood that is used for
shuttles and bobbins in the textile industry and for golf-club heads and other
sports equipment. The Japanese persimmon is cultivated in the warm sections
of the United States, particularly in California, for its fruit.
Persimmons can be classified into two general categories: those that bear
astringent fruit until they are soft ripe and those that bear nonastringent
fruits. Within each of these categories, there are cultivars whose fruits are
influenced by pollination (pollination variant) and cultivars whose fruits are
unaffected by pollination (pollination constant). Actually, it is the seeds,
not pollination per se, that influences the fruit. An astringent cultivar
must be jelly soft before it is fit to eat, and such cultivars are best adapted
to cooler regions where persimmons can be grown. The flesh color of
pollination-constant astringent cultivars is not influenced by pollination.
Pollination-variant astringent cultivars have dark flesh around the seeds when
A nonastringent persimmon can be eaten when it is crisp as an apple. These
cultivars need hot summers, and the fruit might retain some astringency when
grown in cooler regions. Pollination-constant nonastringent (PCNA) persimmons
are always edible when still firm; pollination-variant nonastringent (PVNA)
fruit are edible when firm only if they have been pollinated.
The shape of the fruit varies by cultivar from spherical to acorn to flattened
or squarish. The color of the fruit varies from light yellow-orange to dark
orange-red. The size can be as little as a few ounces to more than a pound.
The entire fruit is edible except for the seed and calyx. Alternate bearing
s common. This can be partially overcome by thinning the fruit or moderately
pruning after a light-crop year. Astringency can also be removed by treating
with carbon dioxide or alcohol. Freezing the fruit overnight and then thawing
softens the fruit and also removes the astringency. Unharvested fruit remaining
on the tree after leaf fall creates a very decorative effect. It is common for
many immature fruit to drop from May to September
Detailed nutritional informatin can be found by searching the
USDA Nutritional Database
. Enter "Persimmon" (no quotes) as the keyword and select the link and
report of interest.
Persimmons make up the genus Diospyros, of the family
Ebenaceae. The common persimmon is classified as Diospyros virginiana
and the Japanese persimmon as Diospyros kaki.