Also known as possumwood, common persimmon or American Persimmon, the plant has only a scientific acknowledged name which is Diospyros virginiana, a plant belonging to the Ebenaceae family and which is known to be a tree serving for fruit or wood. The cultivation of the American Persimmon goes way back hundreds of years when Native American used to cultivate it for its fruit and flagrant flowers.
The flowers of this American Persimmon tree are dioecious and are very aromatic. They blossom on a yellow color with shades of creamy-white and are pollinated by wind and insects. The age when the tree declares its maturity starts at the age of 6 years when the tree becomes ready to produce fruit. The fruit produced is often of an orange color and is highly relied to in cuisines for making pies or sophisticated desserts. Appreciated worldwide, the American Persimmon’s fruit is also known as the “fruit of God”, a name given by the Greeks in Ancient times.
If the soil is appropriate or the weather conditions are favorable, the tree can grow up to 20 meters in height. The quality and taste of its fruit depend on these conditions, as trees cultivated in southern regions of the American States can produce really sweet and tasty fruit, while in other regions, the fruit produced is not edible. Rich in Vitamin C, the fruit is very nutritious and it’s used at pies and other culinary delights. Also, the leaves of this tree can be used at making tea, while the seeds as a substitute for coffee. Home brewed beer or brandy also rely on the American Persimmon’s fruit as main ingredient.
The most appropriate region to cultivate and grow the American Persimmon is the Mississippi area, where the soil is well-drained and rich in resources. Other regions where we can see this tree cultivated are: the cost of New York, the coast of Florida, Iowa, Missouri, Louisiana or even Ohio. Amongst all the mentioned regions, the Mississippi River is the best region, where the tree can attain even more than 20 meters in height and where it’s known to produce the sweetest fruit.
Although it originates from America, the British have also tried to cultivate the tree in Great Britain even before the year of 1629, but it seems that the soils is not what this tree needs to develop properly, as its fruit are rarely harvested.
The fruit is ready to be ripped in late fall, and up until then the fruit is barely edible because of its strong astringent taste. It’s not unusual for locals to make jokes at the expense of their guests who are not familiar with this tree or to its fruit, when they invite foreigners to taste this amazing fruit before late autumn, before reaching its maturity. The taste is awful and very bitter, but no harm is done as this could not produce allergic reactions or anything else. Despite the awful bitter taste when not having reached maturity, the fruit of the American Persimmon is quite sweet and juicy, when lifted from the ground.
American Persimmon Pictures Gallery