Persimmons – a Fruit Tree to Consider
Persimmons Diospyros virginiana are native to North Carolina. This medium size (30-60 feet tall) deciduous tree can be found throughout the state. Their bright orange fruit is easy to spot. Those in the know, know to wait until the fruit is extremely soft before eating. This is because native persimmons are astringent. Astringent fruit are the sweetest, but if not fully ripe, can make your mouth feel puckered. It is a misconception that frost is required before persimmons are edible, its more that the fruit is fully ripe. You can purchase native persimmons varieties that will be more consistent than a seedling from the woods. It should be noted that these native trees are dioecious, meaning you need a male and female tree to get fruit.
About 100 years ago, Oriental Persimmons, Diospyros khaki were introduced to the United States. Oriental persimmons can be astringent or non-astringent. Non-astringent varieties can be eaten right off the tree and not cause that puckering affect. This small tree (10-15 feet tall) is easy to grow, large fruited and offer year-round interest in the landscape. Although not as cold tolerant as our native persimmons, they will thrive in both the piedmont and eastern North Carolina. Non-astringent varieties include Fuyu, Juro and Hanagosho.
For more information on growing oriental persimmons visit: http://content.ces.ncsu.edu/growing-oriental-persimmons-in-north-carolina