Does this look like a crabapple?

Today I was over at my inlaws feeding the horse some pear leavings, and wandered over into the pasture where some apple trees have been for years. This year they didn’t produce any fruit, either because of late freezes or maybe because of biennialism.

However, there was a small (~10 ft) sapling that had grown up next to one of the tall old trees. It actually had some “fruit” on it, so I picked a few. I came home and showed them to my wife and she didn’t know what they were. She thinks they have an apple smell to them, but I couldn’t smell anything. But, that’s prob because of bad allergies the last few weeks has affected my sense of smell.

I cut it in half and it does look like an apple inside. I showed Mrs Dood, and dared her to taste it but she passed. So, I am enclosing some pics for your perusal and opinion. The thing that threw me, is that the top of the fruit looks like a flower petal of some sort. Is it some kind of crab, or some kind of mutant apple from a seedling?

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I’m leaning toward persimmon.

Any chance you tried tasting it?


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You know, we discussed that. And I just looked at some pics, and that’s just what it looks like.

No, I haven’t tasted it yet, what should it taste like, bitter, sweet, tart? Should I let it ripen some more before trying it?

When I hear the word persimmon it reminds me of some old golf clubs that used the wood for clubs like driver, 3-wood, and so on. I learned to play golf back in the eighties using persimmon woods. I finally moved onto metal woods in the nineties.

Clearly a persimmon. Probably an American and highly astringent at that stage.


Yep, unripened American persimmon. Your mouth will be puckered for a long while if you dare to eat it green. Yellow to orange with mushy texture is awesome to eat.



Thanks everybody. How do you eat them when they’re ripe, just like an apple? Or, is it better to just eat the innards and not the skin?

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Let it get cold outside first. After a hard freeze they will have the consistency of a soft date and the flesh will be orange/ yellow. They are not good until a freeze or two hits them. They turn sweet at that time. Eat them skin and all and there will be several seeds per fruit. The fruit is highly variable in taste but typically good to my taste. They are high in tannins when not fully ripe and some tannins remain more so on some then others depending on the wild strain. I love them! They are best when they are beginning to drop from the tree. When they drop you know the others are fully ripe just like a pear or apple accept these splat when they hit the ground usually.


Persimmon. If it is a native and not ripe it will be a taste that is unforgettable.

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Unless you’ve stumbled on the Holly Grail of seedling native persimmons, the flesh will need to be very soft and translucent and pumpkin orange before it is edible, and that fruit is a long way off. Hopefully it will ripen soon enough, but it may be after the first frosts before it is ready to eat.


You know at some point everyone in their life needs to taste an unripe persimmon. :slight_smile: Just sink your teeth into it a little and you’ll see what they mean by astringent. As for the flavor when ripe, they are a lot more complex and flavorful than asian persimmons which to me are just bland sweetness. If I could find a persimmon with the texture and crunch of a Fuyu with the flavor of an American persimmon I’d plant one and eat them all the time. As it stand now I don’t really care for the mushy texture of Americans and the boring sweetness of Asians. I’ll eat them both but I’d prefer just about any other type of fruit.


That’s a great find. Let us know your thoughts on how it tastes one it’s good and ripe. Also, if you find any seeds in them or not.

Certainly is an unripe and astringent persimmon.
In the 1600s John Smith wrote back to the folks in England, describing an unripe persimmon as ‘drawing a man’s mouth awrie with much torment’. lol

I’ve been gathering ripe fruits from NC-10 persimmon for the past 3-4 days… orange, translucent and soft, though not ‘splatting’-ly soft. It’s my earliest-ripening cultivar, most years, and one of the ‘cleanest’ - a large elongate/acorn shape with none of the black flecks of condensed tannins present in some cultivars. Great flavor and oh, so sweet.
Shared some with a neighbor who claimed to have never eaten a persimmon. She asked, “Don’t you have to wait until after a frost or freeze to eat them?”
My answer… “Absolutely not. If you waited that late around here, they’d all be long gone.”
Of the varieties I have growing, only Keener and the hybrid, Rosseyanka, may still have fruit hanging by the time we get a ‘killing frost’.

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I love complex fruit but great texture and high sweetness can be appealing to my palate as well. I think I prefer Fuyu types to American but I’m not sure. There’s one American type that is Lee Reich’s fave I took some wood from and got one out of 7 grafts to take. I’ve eaten its fruit a few times when I happen to be on the site it’s growing when ripe and certainly liked it, but I need a lot more samples to have a solid opinion of it. The variety already established on my property ripens too late and is only so-so. It’s not ready to eat until early Nov.

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I’ve seen this quote before about Lee Reich and Szukis persimmon but I wonder how relevant it is. Seems like this quote came about before the release of Jerry Lehmans breeding work.

It was still his favorite last I talked to him- maybe 4 years ago. I don’t know what varieties he’s comparing it to. I’ve never tasted any of the line you mention.
Are they outstanding for their flavor, or mostly just size? Have you tasted a range of varieties?- I am not very knowledgeable about American pers.

Unfortunately I’ve only tried wild American persimmons. There were some good garden web threads about American persimmons that usually had the Lehman varieties at the top of the list, but people also mentioned Szukis and others. Hopefully some of my named varieties will fruit next year and I’ll be able to add more to the conversation.
As far as Jerry Lehman’s breeding purposes go, he took over the work of Jim Claypool, who was working with 2,400 unique trees with the aim of creating new varieties selected to:

  1. Reduce the long ripening period
  2. Improve fruit size
  3. Calyx holding to fruit when dropping from the tree
  4. Increase the already wonderful flavor
  5. Skin tough enough to hold fruit when it strikes ground
  6. Better the color of skin or attractiveness
  7. Reduce seed numbers
  8. Eliminate black spots in fruit flesh
  9. Improve pulp color & longevity when frozen

Here’s a link that talks more about his efforts. And if you’re interested, I’d be happy to send you some scion wood of what I’ve got this winter.

Thanks for all the inputs, I didn’t know persimmon fruit generated so much interest

If this is just a seedling tree, instead of a cultivated one, would that make a big difference in the flavor? I’m pretty sure it wasn’t intentionally planted there. I’ll try to get some pics of the tree soon, to show it in its setting.

Will the fruit fall off the tree when ripest? I don’t have to worry about them going splat, because there is high grass around the tree. However, I wonder if the horse that is in that same pasture would eat them when they do fall.

@SMC_zone6, what would the seeds look like? Dark, light, similar to a ripe apple seed? If you look close at the second pic it looks like either some seeds starting to form or maybe some seed “pockets” (?). Excuse my ignorance, but what is the relevance of finding seeds in the fruit, other than maybe starting new seedlings?

@Lucky_P, you mention the shape of acorns, it’s just what this one looks like, a large-ish green acorn. The fruit is still very firm, although the areas that are dark orange do have a bit of give to them.

Thank you. I’m not sure yet I want to graft more persimmons given my poor rate of success and lack of more space to devote to them, But if I find Szukis to be useful for more than a kind of self foraging fruit (if the graft thrives) I will make space. The trees are not exactly ideal nursery products- paw paws are what I’m looking at for expansion in that realm. Those I can graft.

Horses will eat persimmons.
The only persimmon bezoar I’ve ever seen was in a pony… and was the cause of death… a mass of partially-chewed persimmon seeds cemented together with (I presume) the gelatinous seed capsule material, which obstructed the duodenum.

The medical literature mentions persimmon bezoars causing intestinal obstruction in humans, but in 40 years of veterinary practice and diagnostic pathology, I’ve only seen the one case in an animal.

I’ve eaten quite a few named persimmon selections - I don’t know that I can ascertain much difference in flavor among the Americans - though there are differences in pulp color, firmness/amount of fiber, condensed tannin specks, etc.


They typically drop when ripe but I see plenty of unripe fruit drop as well. They seem to be best when sort of wrinkled.

Seeds are larger than Apple seeds and sort of flat.