Anyone else growing lotus persimmon? I’m not referring to American Persimmon or the Japanese Persimmon but this species is said to have almost purple fruit which is very small. The foliage looks like a pawpaw but they are unlike the pawpaw in that they are very drought tolerant. I do occasionally get some winter die back though most people will say they are hardy to zone 5 or 6. I’m probably zone stretching a bit by growing them here. Mine have been in the ground about 8 years and I have not seen any fruit yet. The soil I’m growing them in is very poor clay so they are just now reaching 12’.
My two Asian persimmon trees (Coffeecake and Chocolate) both came from the nursery grafted onto diaspyros lotus. They have survived the past two (especially harsh) winters in-ground in my Zone 7a backyard:
It is one of the fruit candidates thought to have inspired Homer’s Odyssey and its chapter on the “lotus eaters”-- hence the latin name, lotus.
And diaspyros means “fruit of the gods.”
Great History on them I can’t wait to get a crop. The nursery I bought them from is svnursery com if you want more for rootstock or to grow out.
Is this D. lotus? A D. virginiana ? This from a large tree in my neighborhood in Tacoma, Wa. The person living there was not familiar with the trees but gladly let me pick a few fruit. The few fruit that I opened were seedless. Likely no male to pollinate. Fruit are very small.
Similar to @BobVance post last year:
The D. lotus specimens bred as rootstock produce very astringent fruit. However, there are cultivars grown in the Caucasus which are said to be of high quality.
I have one Lotus rootstock, with Suruga grafted onto it. Now it’s five years old and still about 2 foot high. I have never seen a tree less vigorous so if I can grow some American rootstocks next year I will replace this rootstock as I have lost patience with it.
@Richard Any idea if the the fruit and leaves in my photos resemble a D. lotus?
I’m not familiar with D. lotus nor have I seen such small persimmon fruit. Perhaps that’s common for a wild D. virginiana. The leaves to me don’t look as glossy as the ones that I search online.
@DennisD if this tree is D. virginiana, you’ll be happy to know that it has plenty of vigor. About 30 feet tall. It grows by the road and gets no irrigation. Shows good drought tolerance for our climate.
There are several species of Diospyros with fruits similar in size and appearance to yours.
I think if it were D Virginiana the fruit would be about 1.25” in diameter. These fruits are similar in appearance to what I remember where I grew up in TN, but our native persimmons were larger than a quarter. The leaves in your second photo from the top do look more glossy like the ones in online pics of D lotus. Maybe after the fruit fully ripens you can test for astringency. The natives I consumed as a child were very astringent until after a hard frost hit them and most leaves were off the tree.
Hi Stan, those looks like DV to me. But I haven’t seen any ripe lotus — I did see an giant lotus tree in Orcas island but can’t recall if I saw fruit.
This thread may be helpful to someone Lotus persimmon buds
I think you’re right. Initially I thought it might be a D. lotus but the sepal/calyx seem to be distinctly different to that of D. virginiana. Also, it seems like D. lotus would be ripen much later.
By the way, IF it were D. lotus in said picture, it would still be far from ripe as they turn orange on their way to ripe, but aren’t actually ripe till they’re nearly black.
Good point @JohannsGarden. That’s another reason why I don’t it’s D. lotus. The ripe fruit on the ground were yellow in color.
Here’s a news story about D. lotus in Degestan where it is native to. The ‘black gold’ is harvested in February and is consumed as dry fruit or processed into jam.