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Oriental Persimmon Diospyros kaki

Other Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
dy-OS-pe-ros KAH-kee
Description

Beautiful, delicious and easy to grow, large-fruited Oriental persimmons offer year-round interest in the landscape. A deciduous tree from the Ebenaceae or ebony (non-fruit bearing) or persimmon (fruit bearing) family, it is native in Eastern Asia and India.  They thrive in eastern North Carolina and the southern piedmont but do not tolerate temperatures below 10°F. The genus name Diospyros is derived from the Greek words dios (divine) and pyros (grain or wheat).  Therefore, persimmon is the “divine fruit” or “wheat of Zeus.”  Kaki is its Japanese name.  Recommended varieties include Fuyu, Jiro, and Hana Gosho.

Trees are usually dioecious, meaning separate male and female trees, but some trees have both male and female flowers.  In some cases, some have perfect flowers.  Also, the trees are parthenocarpic which means they may set seedless fruit without pollination.  Regardless, planting more than one variety is recommended especially if large fruit yields is a goal but not required for fruit set. The trees grow best in loamy, moist but well-drained soils with a pH of 6.0 to 6.5 in full sun but thrive on a wide range of soils. Oriental persimmons generally bloom mid-April so avoid damage from late frosts.

With spectacular autumn foliage and fruit that extends the harvest late into the fall, they are an excellent addition to an edible landscape.  Fruit can stay on the tree after the leaves have fallen, giving an attractive addition to a winter garden. Fruit from these non-astringent varieties can be sliced like a tomato and eaten raw or they can be used in a variety of baked goods.  

Oriental persimmons may not bloom or bear fruit right away.  Oriental persimmons need to be 4-6 years old before they start to bear fruit.  Once they do, they should bear fruit every year, although a heavy crop one year, may cause a smaller crop the next.  

The Oriental persimmon can be placed in a lawn or naturalized area, an Asian, winter or edible garden.  It can be trained as an espalier or pruned as a hedge or screen away from foot traffic or wet soil.  They have no serious insect or disease problems and they do not require annual pruning like some other deciduous fruit trees. However, they do produce root suckers.  Remove promptly unless a naturalized effect is wanted.

Quick ID Hints:

  • Bark is deeply fissured or furrowed in shapes of rectangles or squares

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: Scale, mealybug and leaf spot can occur. Fruit drop can be messy.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
'Fuyu', 'Hanna Gosho', 'Jiro'
Tags:
#deciduous#full sun tolerant#drought tolerant#orange leaves#red leaves#winter interest#fall interest#year-round interest#fruit tree#fruits fall#orange fruits#winter fruits#early childhood
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
'Fuyu', 'Hanna Gosho', 'Jiro'
Tags:
#deciduous#full sun tolerant#drought tolerant#orange leaves#red leaves#winter interest#fall interest#year-round interest#fruit tree#fruits fall#orange fruits#winter fruits#early childhood
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Diospyros
    Species:
    kaki
    Family:
    Ebenaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Leaves are used to make teas
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Grafting
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    India, Asia
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Drought tolerant
    Edibility:
    Fruits can be eaten raw or made into various dishes. Leaves can be used to make teas.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 20 ft. 0 in. - 30 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 15 ft. 0 in. - 25 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Edible
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Dense
    Erect
    Rounded
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    12-24 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    7b, 7a, 8b, 8a, 9b, 9a, 10b, 10a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Orange
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Long-lasting
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Winter
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Fruit Length:
    > 3 inches
    Fruit Width:
    > 3 inches
    Fruit Description:
    3-4 inch orange fruit is globular/ oval. When cut in the middle, it has 8 lighter colored lines inside. May persist into winter.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Cream/Tan
    Pink
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Insignificant
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Bell
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Female flowers appear solitary and are creamy-white. Male flowers are in clusters of 3 and are pinkish.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Orange
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Obovate
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Oval leaves are up to 6 inches long and 4 inches wide. New leaves are yellow-green and turn glossy green in summer. The fall color is yellow-orange to red.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Black
    Dark Brown
    Light Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Fissured
    Furrowed
    Bark Plate Shape:
    Rectangle
    Square
    Bark Description:
    Brownish gray bark
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Lenticels:
    Not Conspicuous
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    Gray stems with or without hairs
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Lawn
    Naturalized Area
    Landscape Theme:
    Asian Garden
    Edible Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Hedge
    Screen/Privacy
    Attracts:
    Pollinators
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Foot Traffic
    Wet Soil
    Problems:
    Messy