The persimmon is a magnificent wonder to behold. Imagine eating freshly picked, sweet and soft fruit that tastes almost as sweet as a banana after frost! These orange, fleshy fruits are a true treat. You can eat the skin and all! The botanical name is said to translate to “Fruit of the Gods” and it sure tastes like it. This tree is native to North America, from here in New England, to Florida and West to Texas. It can be hardy down to zone 4, and is resilient against late frost. When most fruit trees are in full bloom, American Persimmons stay dormant, allowing them to set fruit even if a late frost sets in and kills any other blooms. This reciprocates at the other end of the season, when a frost or two help ripen the fruits, which although beautiful, can be hard and astringent if not fully ripe and soft. You’ll know when to eat them when they feel super soft, like they’re full of jelly!
The American persimmon is a great addition to your permaculture garden, food forest, yard or wildlife planting. Even if you don’t manage to get to the fruits (which will be hard to do after you taste one), they are great at attracting all sorts of wildlife. Persimmons provide a much welcomed source of sugar in the late Autumn months for wildlife to use or store for the Winter ahead.
Persimmons are usually dioecious, meaning that there are usually male and female specimens, although there are some rare reported accounts of them being self-fertile. Nonetheless, you are advised to plant 2 at the least, to hedge your bets towards a happy couple! Keep your eyes open, we will be offering “Meader” persimmons in the Fall or next Spring. Selected by the late and great Professor Elwyn Meader at the University of New Hampshire, this cultivar is reportedly self-fruitful and hardy down to -30F!