Any guesses re the persimmon variety?

A friend here in borderline Z6B/7A coastal RI found a persimmon tree growing next to the driveway at a house in his neighborhood. Unfortunately the owner of the house had recently died and nobody knows what the variety might be.

It would be useful to know. The tree is small but appears to have survived at least a few winters. So I might be convinced to plant it based on cold-hardiness alone. But until very recently, the fruit was rock hard and very astringent. Today after a few frosts, some of the fruits are wholly or partly soft. The soft sections have a sweet honey / maple flavor with no astringency. The hard sections are still astringent. So the variety seems sufficiently cold-hardy to survive here and the fruit can be tasty, but it seems the season is too short here to produce high quality fruit. I need to know what it is so I can avoid it.

My guess is that the variety is an astringent Asian. Some clues:

  1. Color, shape and size can be gleaned from the pictures.
  2. Flesh is astringent until ripening or, as appears to have happened here, freezing.
  3. Fruits are seedy. It seems unlikely that there are male trees nearby – or any other persimmon trees at all. So most likely either (a) the variety produces both male and female flowers and is self-fertile; or (b) the rootstock produced some branches with male flowers.
  4. The variety needs a long season to ripen. As a benchmark, my American variety Prok started to ripen on the tree in late September, two months ago.
  5. Edit 12/01: The flesh does not appear to change color when there are seeds. So it seems a PCA type.
  6. Edit 12/01: The tree has a bushy shape, and all the fruit is on one side. I’m guessing that maybe the owners inadvertently permitted the rootstock to grow some branches with only male flowers. So I lean toward 3b above.

Any guesses?


Lots of people here know far more about persimmons than me so hopefully you’ll get good answers. But I’m wondering why you think its an astringent? I assume you have cut into one that is still hard and tasted it and it makes your mouth feel strange, dry/puckered. If so its astringent. But in my limited experience with about 6 varieties, that shape is more often associated with NON astringent varieties like Fuyu. Astringents are often more elongated and not as short and fat like those. Anyway, a simple taste test will determine that. Its also large enough that I’d say you are right about it being an Asian.

Good luck figuring it out. You may never be able to narrow it too far down.

We tasted it. My friend, who “discovered” the tree, has tasted it repeatedly over the past few weeks. I tasted it today, hence my observation: “Today after a few frosts, some of the fruits are wholly or partly soft. The soft sections have a sweet honey / maple flavor with no astringency. The hard sections are still astringent.”

Re shape: To me the fruit resembles my astringent Prok American persimmons, just much bigger and somewhat flatter. But the fruits are nowhere near as flat and square as my non-astringent Asian IKKJ. Also, the fruits are nowhere near as oblong as an astringent Hachiya.

Possibly it’s a very late ripening American. But FWIW, the taste was quite a bit better than Prok.

I’m so sorry! Somehow I manage to completely overlook your description in the original post which you just repeated for me! No idea how I missed so much information! I also didn’t realize you had so much persimmon experience yourself- so I’m sure you know more than I do about determining the type. It does have the astringent shape to me, as you said. And you know from tasting the hard ones that its astringent. The size alone is bigger than any American’s I have seen (I only grow Mead and they are considerable smaller). Anyway, good luck. Sorry I wasn’t more help!

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@thecityman – No prob. Thanks for the reply!

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A further thought. There is a modest apparent darkening of the flesh around the seeds. This fruit had 5 seeds. Is this a PVA type? The shape seemed similar to Maru, presented in another thread . . . . Sorry, I have no experience with varieties other than the American Prok and the Asians Jiro / Fuyu.

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