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The Best of the Persimmon World

People are sometimes perplexed when they see the small tree in the lawn to the right as they enter our property. Last year a lady asked me if I had a pumpkin tree! Here it is:The photo on the top left was taken less than two weeks ago. Can you find the fruit amidst the colored leaves? I took the photo on the top right just this morning. All the autumn leaves have been carried away by the wind, and now you can see the fruit. I counted, and there are 13 of them.

This is a Tamopan persimmon tree, a type of Asian persimmon planted three years ago, quite by mistake. I bought the tree thinking it was the non astringent Fuyu persimmon, which can be eaten while still crisp, like an apple. When its first fruit appeared, and I saw the peculiar shape, I knew this was no Fuyu! Research revealed that I had an astringent Tamopan, which can only be eaten once it is softened, because it has serious pucker-power otherwise. I had fallen in love with the mellow taste of the Fuyu, and that is what I wanted. But I had to admit the Tamopan had character! The fruit looks like it is wearing a cap!

The fruit ripens after the leaves have fallen. I can imagine what an amazing sight my "pumpkin" tree will be after it matures. When the first harvest ripened, I discovered that the insides of the Tamopan could be scooped right out of the tough skin, which serves as an excellent bowl. The gelatinous, sweet interior has hints of cantalope. It is different from the Fuyu, but good in its own way.

Yet I had not forgotten my first love, and last year I planted a small Fuyu persimmon tree in a pot near our kitchen. It needs to be planted in the ground, but I haven't yet found the perfect place. (My friend Tamopan occupies the perfect place!) Right now it sits in what I call my herb bed, and I am beginning to think it may stay where it is. I like the look of it in the pot, so maybe I will buy an enormous pot and let it continue to grow that way. The decision has not been made. 

I am pleased with the little tree. Though its trunk is so spindly it can not hold itself up without stakes on each side, it produced a harvest this year: eight delicious Fuyus! Below are photos of the fruit. I love its beautiful interior.Lou and I have gobbled seven of them, and the last one sits in the refrigerator, becoming chilled and ready for prime tasting. After that last one is gone, it won't be long before the Tamopans are ripe. I think I have the best of all the persimmon world!

For more information about persimmons, read my previous post Persimmon: the Fruit of the Gods. You may also enjoy I Was a Fool For Fuyu, and Other Thoughts and Digging a Hole.

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Reader Comments (28)

What gorgeous looking fruits -- I have never tasted a persimmon. I had no idea these Asian varieties could set fruit like that (and look like pumpkins!). I have three native species persimmons (Diospyros virginiana), and they are pretty saplings but no sign of flowering and no fruits, even on the one that I planted six years ago. Your persimmons are producing incredible fruits on such small trees - wow.

November 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLaurrie

I am not very familiar with Persimmons. The trees and the fruits (inside and out) are lovely. I agree with Laurrie--what's your secret?! Hints of Cantaloupe ...interesting. Any other thoughts about the flavors of Persimmons?

November 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPlantPostings

I also have native persimmons. It is good to know I am not alone in not seeing fruit or flowers. I actually do not know the sex of my trees. I have the straight species, and I think they need a pollinator whenever they do reach sexual maturity.

It has been quite a task to keep the deer away from them. My office has native persimmons nearby, and these actually do set fruit. They're about 20 feet tall. I would LOVE asian persimmons. The fall colors are so nice, and the fruit looks untouched by pests, unlike the other fruit in my garden. :D

I tried the non astringent apple persimmon, and I'm not a big fan. I bet it tastes better fresh from the tree, though. Thanks so much for sharing. The tree is gorgeous.

November 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGuest

The raccoons and squirrels get most of the fruit on my 'Fuyu' and 'Hachiya' but I still love them for their fall color (the trees, not the raccoons or the squirrels). The fruits are pretty too - at least until the animals start chomping on them. Maybe the astringent varieties of Persimmons would keep the critters at bay...

November 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKris P

I am not familiar with Persimmons either, completely new to me, what a fun tree to have, well, both of them, but I agree the fruit of your pumpkin tree is rather unusual! I just looked up Fuyu and it turns out I can grow it here in London, although the tree is a bit big for my tiny garden and according to the info I saw it takes 7 years for it to fruit properly when bought as the specimens sold over here. A long time to wait. Did you buy a mature tree or did you wait that long?

November 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHelene

You have convinced me. I will buy a persimmon fruit next time I see it in the shop. I dont know why I have never tasted it. The tree is also beautiful. I have never seen that tree over here.

November 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDenise

I have never come across a Persimmon tree before, but think your looks gorgeous. How strange that the two varieties taste so different. I will have to keep a look out for one in our garden centre, but it would have to stay in a pot as I really have no more room for more trees!

November 17, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterpauline

You are lucky to have so many fruit on your small trees, my tree is still suffering from being quite a large tree when it was planted into almost solid tuffo. The fruit on ours needs to ripen before it can be eaten although the ants ate some of them even before they were ripe. I really grow it for the decorative value of the fruits on a tree at this time of year that look like Christmas decorations.

November 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterChristina

Hello, everyone! Thanks for stopping by and taking time to comment. Your thoughts are valuable, and I appreciate each one of you. Plant Postings, you asked about my thoughts on the taste. I truly have a hard time describing the flavors of my persimmon tree. Yes, there is that hint of cantaloupe, with maybe a bit of pear or peach. Obviously, I love the taste, but I find it unique.

Helene, both of my trees were about six feet tall and an inch in diameter when I bought them, and they produced fruit the first year after they were in the ground, or pot in the case of my Fuyu. My guess is that they were about five years old when I bought them. They don't need a lot of fertilizer. I used fish emulsion in the spring. They are quite low maintenance for fruit trees. They do appreciate being consistently watered, especially during the heat of summer. They both are in full sun.

Deb Elliott

November 17, 2013 | Registered CommenterDeborah Elliott

These look yummy...I have never tried them...love the autumn colors!!

November 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDonna@Gardens Eye View

wow, such a small tree with all that fruit. I enjoy eating Persimmon, we have many wild trees in our area but they only produce a small fruit. You are lucky to have a beautiful tree. Not sure if you live inthe country or not but beware of the raccoons getting your fruit as well as the squirrels.

Bobcat Tail Cam Pictures

November 17, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermichael

I love the idea of a pumpkin tree. How do these trees compare to the native American persimmon?

November 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJason

Hi Jason, the Asian persimmons are much larger. The Tamopan is astringent, as are the native American persimmons. They must be eaten after the fruit is fully ripe and softened. The Fuyu is delicious while still firm and is also good after it softens. There are a variety of Asian persimmons of both astringent and non-astringengent types. Deb Elliott

November 17, 2013 | Registered CommenterDeborah Elliott

Oh cool, I've seen them in the stores, we had a huge Asian influence on the coast, they were very popular. In fact my old boss used to give me one occasionally, but to me they just tasted like smelly socks...I think it might be a acquired taste.

It's so interesting to see them actually growing on a tree, and not just in the supermarket.


November 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

Hi Jen! Smelly socks? Can't be the same type of persimmon! For me Fuyu was love at first bite! Deb

November 17, 2013 | Registered CommenterDeborah Elliott

Persimmon, yummy! A great ornamental tree with yummy fruits as a bonus!!

November 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMark and Gaz

Hi Debs, just re-read your post and I think the 'yummy' one I referred to is the Fuyu persimmon (I'm craving for some now). I think both types make for a good ornamental tree too, with the fruits as great bonus.

November 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMark and Gaz

Indeed, you do have the best of the persimmon world. You remind me of how much I miss the one I grew in the North Georgia mountains – and you remind me I need to get myself one here in Marietta.

November 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLee May

I remember your first post about persimmon and I had to look them up right away and see if they were hardy here - alas, no, but I would still like to try a persimmon one day. Our grocery store is very small and I am not one to try my first bite of anything produce from its shelves. Maybe in Florida as we are planning a get away soon. I love your tree even though it is not what you expected. What beautiful leaves, color and interesting fruit! So great to grow your own!

I've never tasted a persimmon, but DH took a bite of a wild one as a kid -- and didn't realize they needed a frost to fully ripen. lol We have lots of wild Persimmons around here but don't really recall seeing fruit, although it could be that the leaves hide them. The Asian species do really stand out! I've seen a few around here and they look very festive in the fall.

November 18, 2013 | Unregistered Commentersweetbay

Love it that you have persimmons, Deb! And that they are quite edible.
Can't believe someone asked you if it was a pumpkin tree - haven't they ever seen It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown?? That was in a patch for heaven's sake :)

November 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAstrid

I wish more people were familiar with the splendid taste of persimmons. Everyone needs their own tree because persimmons in the grocery store are too expensive. I have two persimmon trees. Either birds or squirrels get most of mine but I stumbled on a tree in the church yard last month on the way to Bible study. I decided to steal a persimmon. I figured I was going to go to Hell for that so I went back the next week and stole the last (two). Needed to make my "sin" worthwhile.

November 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Jones

Oh I just love the persimmon tree! My neighbor has one (a Fuyu, I think) and it is an incredible sight in the fall. Worth growing for the look alone, even if you don't like persimmons!

November 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSarah/Galloping Horse Garden

What an interesting tree - the fruit looks so beautiful. We have some native type of persimmon tree here, but I've never tried the fruit. In fact, I'm not sure I've ever eaten a persimmon. But yours looks quite delicious.

November 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHolleyGarden

Such an unusual looking fruit with its little cap! I think I've tried a persimmon at some point long ago, but I don't remember what it tasted like. So fun to have fruit trees in your yard, even if it's not quite the one you wanted. I hope your Fuyu does well for you, too, in whatever location you find!

November 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterIndie

I need a persimmon tree, now I just need to find the space. I have pawpaws that produce tons of fruit but the animals steal,it all.

What a great post! I was first introduced to these in Beirut where a stranger picked one from his tree as I was walking and gave it to me! We lived in England still and I had never seen them before but I think he called it a Sharon fruit. I see your photos and I can smell that super sweet flesh and feel the juice dribbling down my chin!

Thanks for the memories x

November 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKaren Chapman

That Tamopan does have an unusual shape! love our Asian persimmons. We have two Fuyu types, and got about a dozen fruit total from the small trees. I'm going to plant an astringent type too just because we love the persimmons so much!

November 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDave
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