From the Archives of the Rare Fruit Council of Australia, inc.
by Celso and Elisa Gomez-Sanchez


Seasons in Australia are opposite to those in the US.  Summer is Dec. Jan. Feb. Autumn is Mar. Apr. May. Winter is June July Aug. Spring is Sept. Oct. Nov.

The Oriental Persimmon

Scientific Name: Diospyros kaki
Family: Ebenaceae
 
   
The oriental persimmon, referred to as the "apple from the Orient", is highly acclaimed in other countries but is not properly appreciated in America. Persimmons can be classified into two major groups: non-astringent and astringent. Each group can be further classified on their response to pollination into: pollination constant (no change in flesh color after pollination) and pollination variant (flesh is light color when seedless and dark when seeded, especially around the seed).

 There are over 1000 named cultivars. Individual trees can live up to 100 years and produce up to 400 lb of fruit per year.
Oriental persimmons were brought from Japan to the USA by Commodore Perry in 1856 and imported in great quantities by the USDA late last century and up to the 1920s.

Non-astringent Varieties

Fuyu (fuyugaki means "winter persimmon") is a large ½ lb round, flat fruit that ripens to a deep red. It is of excellent flavor and long shelf life. The tree is vigorous and spreading with no male flowers, but some parthenocarpic ability. Pollination assures good fruit set. Unfortunately, several varieties have been sold as Fuyu or Fuyugaki with fruit of varying quality. The real Fuyu is incompatible with D. lotus rootstock. This is the most planted variety in Japan and the one that holds the most commercial promise here.

Jiro is an old cultivar. The fruit is slightly larger than Fuyu, oblate and characteristically segmented by eight longitudinal grooves, four of which are more prominent and pass from the fruit apex to calyx. This variety is a pollination constant. The skin is yellow-crimson, sometimes uneven; the flesh is of excellent quality.

Ichikikeijiro is an early maturing bud mutation of the Jiro with excellent fruit quality. The tree vigor is weak, growth habit is dwarf and spreading with medium fruit set and only female flowers are produced. Fruit stores well so it is a promising commercial cultivar.

Honagosho ("flower of the Imperial Palace") is an excellent old variety, medium, yellow fruit 1/3 lb of excellent flavor and good storage which ripens late. The tree is vigorous and upright and has some male flowers so it can be used for pollination.

Izu is a seedling of Fuyu x Okugosho. Fruit is medium size 1/3 lb, oblate, mottled orange red skin and pale orange flesh. Pollination constant. Low yield.

Suruga. Seedling of Hanagosho x Okugosho, the fruit is large ½ lb, orange-red, very sweet and even better than the Fuyu with a long shelf life. The tree is vigorous, upright with good fruit set and produces only female flowers.

Shogatsu is a large, sweet fruit, ripening to deep orange-red. The tree is medium size and spreading and produces many male flowers. Fruit set is medium. Quality is not as good as other varieties. It is an excellent pollinator.

Hanafuyu, "Winter flower", obliquely rounded, large ½ lb sweet, juicy, reddish-orange color fruit. Tree is dwarf.

Sheng. Similar to the Hanagosho but smaller, dwarf tree size.


Astringent

Tanenashi
is an early variety introduced in the USA. It is the most common variety available in Florida. The fruit is seedless, conical and of excellent taste.

Hira-tanenashi, "flat seedless", the fruit is large, flat, sweet, with four sides and four shallow grooves and the skin is tough, glossy, orange-red, the flesh is pale yellow orange with poor shelf life. It is the second most popular in Japan. Pollination is constant.

Saijo, "the very best one" is a medium-size fruit, 1/3 lb, oblong conical, four-sided with deep grooves and orange skin. Pollination is constant. Fruit becomes very soft after astringency disappears.

Great Wall is a very early ripening Chinese variety with a small, very sweet fruit discovered by explorer J. Russell Smith. The tree is cold-hardy.

Glombo is a giant, conical fruit, 1 lb, of excellent taste. The tree is very productive.

Yamato Hykume is an elongated, conical, pretty fruit. The flesh turns chocolate with pollination.

Okugosho is medium-sized, round and orange with inconsistent astringency loss.

Homestead is a small, conical, orange-red fruit with good taste. The tree is a good and consistent bearer.

Hachiya is the most popular California persimmon. The fruit is large, conical and orange-red. The tree is spreading.

Galley is an excellent pollinator. The fruit is small, conical and of fair quality.

Korean is medium-sized, flat, orange and sweet. The tree is productive and cold hardy.

Kung-Sun-Ban or Kyungsun-Ban-Si is similar to the Korean and is a showy tree.

Peiping is similar to the Korean, but the tree is dwarf and fruit smaller.

Tamopan is a large fruit shaped like the acorn cap on the top end. The tree is very ornamental. The fruit has fair flavor.

Giant Tamopan is a very large tamopan(1 lb) bred by Dr. R.T. Dunstan using colchicine.

Smith's Best is a compact, densely-branched, small prolific tree found on the farm of J. Russell Smith who was the first to popularize the persimmons. The fruit is small-to-medium and of high quality, chocolate-colored flesh.

Tecumseh is small-to-medium and of excellent quality.

San Pedro is deep orange, oblate fruit of excellent quality.



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Bibliography

Henty, Ted, Lae. "The Oriental Persimmon." rfcarchives.org.au. Archives of the Rare Fruit Council of Australia. RFCI Inc. Tampa Chapter, Jan. 1988. July 1988. Web. 4 Oct. 2014.

Published 25 Dec. 2016 LR
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