I was on a walk a few nights ago when I looked up and lo and behold, right before me was a holy grail I’d searched for since moving to the farm. Native persimmons, or the poetic diospyros virginiana!
This particular tree was maybe 20 feet tall and growing at the edge of the woods along a road. Its branches were full of orange fruit. I picked up a persimmon that had fallen to the ground and took a bite. It was a delightful taste I’d never experienced—and very different from the cultivated Japanese persimmons I’ve bought in stores and greatly enjoyed. This wild persimmon tasted like jellied honeysuckle, if you can imagine that.
I couldn’t believe my fortune and gathered a couple of the less-rotten looking fruits and ate them for dessert tonight. I kept the seeds and will plant them to try to grow my own trees. Though research tells me that the optimum fruit-bearing age for native persimmons is 25 to 50 years, with luck I may start to enjoy fruit by my mid-forties!
In the meantime, I plan to brave the ticks to again walk my woods looking for my own wild-growing tree. And last year I planted a tiny Fuyu persimmon tree, just to hedge my bets!