Diospyrus lotus (Date Plum) as fruit

Roger Meyer of CRFG fame grew several Diospyros species at his farm in Valley Center, CA. Years ago I had a conversation with him about an ornamental species he grew for floral arrangements. He then told me about D. lotus – the common persimmon rootstock – being grown for fruit in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and eastern Turkey. He tipped me off that there were non-astringent cultivars and although he’d tried to import some it was never successful.

I went about some research and eventually determined this story is true and cultivars go way back in history. In fact there was an orchard maintained in Roman times at or near present-day Shakriani, Georgia. Getting scionwood here is very difficult in our time due to many political and horticultural regulations. The latter I could overcome but the former was insurmountable. I have gone to the effort of tasting all the fruits at Wolfskill which I can guarantee are astringent! I was never interested in seed and thus did not pursue it.

And yet there are others with the goal of fruiting D. lotus – one of whom ordered seed from a source in Turkey and knowing my angst sent me 7 extras. Yippee!!

Here they are after 40 days of refrigeration, set in 3" x 8" mini treepots. :crossed_fingers:


There is a Rojo briante x Lotus hybrid that will be making waves in the persimmon community soon.


Thank you, although the pursuit of Date Plum is the holy grail here!

I think you enjoyed this thread Lotus persimmon buds. Thank you for pointing out the tannin level in the previous thread. Someone may want to look at photos of mature trees. I’ve learned a lot about them through the years. Still I have much more to learn. Good luck with the ones your growing they are beautiful trees in my opinion.

1 Like

Rojo = hexaploid, lotus = diploid = incompatible.

1 Like

so we all thought until it went in a lab trust me it’s coming

I’ve walked among them at Wolfskill, and yes they are gorgeous. :slight_smile:

1 Like

Lotus is a dioecious species just like all other diospyros species. But as it happens there are always exceptions. There are many monoecious kaki varieties and a few virginiana varieties that are monoecious or will sport the odd male branch. I happen to have a lotus tree that has perfect flowers which means that these are actually male type flowers (clusters of three) but each flower has pistils and anthers so they pollinate themselves and all turn into fruit.
About the fruit: Lotus will set abundant fruit without pollination. So if you want to have some flesh on the fruit and not just seed then do not plant a male tree nearby!!! it is not necessary for fruit production because just like Asian persimmon lotus will fruit abundantly without pollination. The fruit will ripen perfectly in zone 8 a-b but the flavor, and more important sweetness, will not be like fruit grown in warmer zones. Lotus typically needs a lot of accumulated heat hours just like Asian persimmon and when this is lacking the fruit will not be very sweet. Fruit that has ripened in the natural growing range is much sweeter. The flesh however is always quite thick and not juicy at all. It resembles the consistency of dates both when fresh and dried respectively. Date plum is bright orange when ripe but it only becomes edible when it is dark brown, almost black. It does not retain that nice orange color when it becomes soft and edible like Asian or American persimmon.
But the taste of a well ripened lotus is actually quite reminiscent of a date…“Date plum” is absolutely a correct name…
I have been searching for larger fruited varieties for ever but haven’t found any yet. I did make a few selections of my own that were earlier ripening and had somewhat larger fruit but I’m sure that in its native growing range there must be many superior local selections because this fruit has been cultivated since ancient times…
If anyone knows of really large fruited selections please let us know!!!


Are you familiar with the African diospyrus species with fruit similar to D. lotus?

There are several diospyros in Africa how do you want an answer.

To return to the subject of @Harbin , the possibility of hybridization is not limited to the number of chromosomes.
Jerry Lehman talked about it. From memory, Derevienko had told him that the local d.lotus naturally hybridizes with d.kaki. I still have Carpathian diospyros seeds in the fridge, I have to sow them.

@Mikatani , Many selections of female d.lotus actually exist in North Africa, now neglected.
French botanists report the existence of natural hybridization of d.kaki and d.lotus in China.
2 clones of these hypothetical Chinese hydes imported at the beginning of the last century are still existing in France. The fruits are more orange in color than the classic lotus.
The fruits are just over 2.5 cm in diameter.

1 Like

I’m sorry, I thought the words “you” and “familiar” were self-explanatory.

1 Like

Older threads for reference

@Arhus76 I have a hybrid kaki x lotus somwhere in my collection but I’m afraid I have neglected it somewhat… I didn’t pay muc attention to it because i’m very doubtfull if it really is an interspecific hybrid. To me it looks 100% like D.kaki…it has no lotus features that I can see.


Which Cytology lab was used?

1 Like

@Arhus76 I think that you are talking through your hat.

Here’s an entire FB chat with Jerry.
I deliberately did not translate so as not to be accused of modifying the text. These are just screenshots.
The Caucasian diospyros is nothing more than a lotus diospyros. Perhaps he is tetraploid, which would explain the fertility after hybridization.

1 Like

These ploidy changes are frequent in nature (or artificially) and by hybridization we manage to have new species.
A strong braid (heat, cold…) can cause this, like radiation or chemicals.
Turning it down doesn’t show a great sign of intelligence.

@Harbin , you deny the existence of other F1 persimmon hybrids other than Rosseyanka (18). While in Ukraine they are recognized. I think in the past you would have been one of the people who thought the earth was flat… maybe you’re still the last to believe that our planet isn’t round!
You have to live with the times.

1 Like

I have examined (and tasted) the D. lotus specimens at the NCGR Davis repository. All of them were brought from eastern Europe, one in particular from the upper Alazani river valley in Georgia.

1 Like

While Animal hybrids are a finicky and fickle thing to achieve, plant hybrids are much easier (though with layers of complexity).

Assuming the gametes of both parents have properly reduced during meiosis, hybrid offspring end up with a midway point in the amount of chromosomes. Pair a hexaploid with a diploid, and you get a tetraploid. Pair a tetraploid with a diploid and you get a triploid. Even numbers tend to be fertile and fruitful, odd numbers tend to be sterile at lower levels, sometimes fertile at higher levels. Depending on the chromosomal math you’ll sometimes get aneuploids which are near a standard ploidy level, but with an extra chromosome or two (not enough to bring it up to the next level). When unreduced gametes are added into the mix, the offspring get higher ploidy levels than normal, sometimes higher than either parent.

This kinda stuff can be seen with strawberries. Fragaria x vescana is a cross between a tetraploid F. vesca and the octaploid F. x ananassa… with that ploidic math, hexaploids were expected, but it seems the octaploid parents didn’t reduce the gametes while the tetraploids did. So, unreduced octaploid gametes with reduced diploid gametes from the tetraploid parent makes for a decaploid plant. F. x vescana are decaploid hybrids. Meanwhile, “Florika x moschata” is more standard, with properly reduced gametes… a decaploid parent with a hexaploid parent, and we ended up with another octaploid strawberry.

Back to Diospyros…

I grew Jackalberry a few years back. It was slow-growing in a pot. It died when I put it in the ground. Not sure what went wrong, though I later became aware that it likes acidic soil (if I remember correctly), though I don’t know if that was the issue.