Directions in persimmon breeding

I have noticed that most discussions here in regards to breeding D.v. is for non-astringency and/or hybrid hardiness. When I dip into the NAFEX archives to enjoy some of Claypool´s or Lehman´s articles on their efforts, other than the effort to improve general fruit characteristics, they seemed also to be pursuing a perfect flowered tree – which Jerry seemed to expect to eventually come by breeding males, not females. One thing that seems to limit progress in this direction, is that persimmon (DV) breeding is largely done currently by backyard hobbyists, and the average home grower is wanting fruit, and so overgrafts any male seedling to a female cultivar.

Other than to stimulate conversation, I suppose my intent here would be to encourage those of you doing breeding work, to consider saving more of your males to assess them for breeding opportunities. Of course, maybe this is already being done – if so, I´d enjoy reading your experiences and goals in this direction.


All true, but the question is how to easily assess a male tree? I have 9 virginiana seedling trees, 15+ years old. One of them is male. It flowers for 6-7 years now. Two/three years ago it produced a few quite small fruits, so I could assess it’s genetic potential (or lack of it) for breeding, but it took too many years. Is there a known way to artificially induce female flowering in male trees?

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They do it with certain female flowers, and knowing what you have phenotypically in a male lineage would advance breeding significantly. Maybe hitnit with an OD of giberillic acid, silver or something…

I have only the most rudimentary understanding of plant breeding, but wouldn’t it be better to search out males (like Szukis) that already show some frequency of producing either female or perfect flowers—instead of artificially inducing it?

Other than for further breeding, why would one want seeds in DV?

Wider gene pool.

Rootstocks. Personally I do not mind the seeds, also I have noticed that the last fruits to ripen are seedless.

This was true for one of my kaki last year too. All the earlier ripening fruit were seeded and nonastringent. More of my fruit should be seeded this year and I’ll keep an eye out to see if the pattern continues. Sorry to sidetrack this to discussing kaki.


I’ll evaluate my males for all the various categories of growth to be on the lookout for @GeneH . No question(s) about it. I’m looking at things extremely-closely. I’m just beginning however. Just a few days ago did I plant.

You can see some good lineage/information from Steven’s post about DV:

Lehman pretty much ran thru the whole course of what to breed with in a few paragraphs.

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I have a simple question (and follow ups) for folks and I doubt there is a simple answer. So here goes.

This question assumes a baseline of one of the trees being male or perfect, and the other tree being female or perfect.

How hybrid does a hybrid persimmon need to be to make further viable seeded fruit for further breeding efforts?

Would a hybrid of let’s say approximately 12.5% kaki /87.5% DV be too much DV to produce viable offspring back-crossing to a pure kaki without embryo rescue?

Also does anyone know of any relevant studies related to this?

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I don’t know the answer to your question regarding high percentage hybrids of DV. I can speculate since we know the problem is endosperm related. At 87.5% DV, most likely there would be a high level of incompatibility but with some seed still viable. You might have to produce 1000 seed to get 5 or 10 that germinate normally. There is also likely to be a “parent” effect where one parent does not work but another does. This would be highly likely if the male parent is not pure DK, in other words if using a hybrid male as a pollen source. So my suggestion would be to use the 87.5% DV as the female parent and use a high percentage DK line as the male.

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So far I was able to cross 400-5 male 25% kaki and 75% DV to my potted productive Tam Kam 100% nonastringent kaki and got 6 seeds and seemed viable due to the heaviness in weight and sink in the water test. I sent one to Dax and one will be going to @PharmerDrewee in Pennsylvania for trial. I will grow out the last four in pots. I also have a Prok X 400-5 offspring male which is 12.5% Kaki and 87.5% DV. I will cross this Omaha male to my 6 potted productive Tam Kam 100% nonastringent Kaki this Spring and hopefully will get tons of seeds for trial across the USA.



Thanks for the opinion, it is good to know that the male/female parents would be likely to have an influence in this scenario. That certainly has an impact on the choices I’d make.

That’s awesome Tony, I am excited to see what results you guys end up with and I really hope they all sprout. I assume this was a controlled hand pollinated cross; Did you have significantly more seeds that did not seem viable?

Count me in to trial these if you have any to spare, I have a spot that is on the edge of z5b/z5a depending on the map that I can plant as much as I want in Indiana County, PA.

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The 400-5 bloomed at the tail end of the Tam Tam so I was able to hand pollinated only a few late Tam Kam flowers. This year may try a different approach by bringing the potted 400-5 male into the sun room and let it wake up 3 weeks earlier to get a head start and hopefully they both will blooms at the same time. @disc4tw , I will put you down for future trial. Also I will do the same for the Omaha male. Or I can always collect and freeze the male pollens for future crosses.



That sounds great Tony. Thanks! Assuming my grafting skills this year are adequate, I DO have a few buds of 400-5 sitting in the fridge already from a good friend. It’s good to know about the bloom time being later to make those kinds of adjustments.

If an excess of pollen is available, It might even be worth the effort to freeze some each year as a backup. I know pollen viability is a challenge but it’s better than none at all in case things don’t go as planned.

We were on the same page :slightly_smiling_face:

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