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Tree Description: Persimmons are deciduous trees that lose their leaves each winter and enter a dormant state. New leaves are then followed by flowers in the spring. The fruit are classified as being astringent or non-astringent. The Fuyu variety is non-astringent, while the Triumph is astringent until fully ripe. Both are sweet when ripe and well suited for Florida. They are most commonly eaten fresh out of hand, but they are also common in salads and gelatin desserts. Avg. Height x Width: 15' x 15'. Varieties: Fuyu and Triumph. Season: Late fall to early winter. Damage Temp: 20F.
Scientific Name: Diospyros kaki
Common Name: Persimmon, American ebony, white ebony
Relatives: Black sapote, mabolo
Origin: Southeast Asia
Distribution: Common persimmon is distributed from southern Connecticut and Long Island, New York to southern Florida. Inland it occurs in central Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, and central Illinois to southeastern Iowa; and southeastern Kansas and Oklahoma to the Valley of the Colorado River in Texas. It does not grow in the main range of the Appalachian Mountains, nor in much of the oak-hickory forest type of the Allegheny Plateau.
History: Introduced to Japan in the 7th century, and cultivated from the 10th century, the persimmon is the country's national fruit, with innumerable haikus dedicated to it. The Greek “dios” (“divine”) and “pyros” (“wheat”, “grain”), though it is a berry, give the fruit its genus name.
Importance: The persimmon is an excellent source of Vitamin A and C. One fruit provides 55 percent and 21 percent of daily recommended values respectively. They are also a good source of fiber and manganese. If the taste wasn’t enough, people should steer clear of unripe persimmons because the tannins, stomach acid and indigestible plant material can form a bezoar: a hard mass that can lead to gastric obstruction and surgery.