From Academic Kids

American Persimmon flower
American Persimmon flower
Hemingway, South Carolina
Scientific classification

D. kaki (kaki persimmon/fruit)
D. digyna (black sapote)
D. discolor (velvet apple)
D. lotus (date plum)
D. texana (Texas persimmon)
D. virginiana (American persimon)

Persimmon most commonly refers to the edible fruit borne by some species of the Diospyros genus. They are also known as kaki fruit, sharon fruit, black sapote (D. digyna), mabolo or velvet apple (D. discolor), date plum (D. lotus), Texas persimmon (D. texana) and American persimmon (D. virginiana). The term is also used to refer to the trees bearing the fruit.

The word persimmon comes from the Algonquin language of the eastern United States.



Persimmons tend to be light yellow-orange to dark red-orange in colour and varies from 2-8 cm in diameter according to species. The calyx often remains attached to the fruit after picking. They may be spherical, acorn or pumpkin-shaped depending on the variety. They are eaten fresh, dried, cooked and canned. They are high in glucose and protein, and also have various medicinal and chemical uses.

There are generally two types of fruit, those that are astringent until extremely ripe and those bearing non-astringent fruit.

Astringent varieties contain high levels of soluble tannins and cannot be eaten until custard-soft unless the astringency has been removed either artificially or by an after-ripening of light exposure to frost over a few days; this process is known as bletting. The edibility of astringent varieties is much improved when the fruit is dried.

Non-astringent varieties are less astringent when unripe and lose their astringency earlier. They can be eaten at various stages of firmness, from very hard to very soft.

Missing image
Japanese Persimmon (variety Hachiya) - watercolor 1887

Commercial varieties include:

  • Astringent:
    • Korean
    • Hachiya
  • Nonastringent:
    • Fuyu or Japanese Persimmon
    • Jiro
    • Hanagosho


Kaki Persimmon / Kaki Fruit (D. kaki) is the most widely cultivated species, grown for its delicious fruit (see below). This species, native to China, is deciduous with broad, stiff leaves. Cultivation for the fruit extended first to other parts of east Asia, and was later introduced to California and southern Europe in the 1800s.

American Persimmon (D. virginiana) is native to eastern North America.

Black Persimmon or Black Sapote (D. digyna) is native to Mexico. Its fruit has green skin and white flesh which turns black when ripe.

Mabolo or Velvet-apple (D. discolor) is native to the Philippines. It is bright red when ripe.

Date-plum (D. lotus) is native to southwest Asia and southeast Europe. It was known to the ancient Greeks as "the fruit of the Gods", i.e. Dios pyros, whence the scientific name of the genus. Its English name derives from the small fruit, which has a taste reminiscent of both plums and dates.

There are other varieties of persimmons that are not edible to humans.


Persimmons should be kept at room temperature (20C), they will go soft more rapidly if they are refrigerated.

Nutritional Information

Values are per 100g

Values here are for kaki persimmon (D. kaki) they will vary depending on the variety
Energy 293kj
FAT - Total 0.19g
- Saturated 0.02g
- Sugars 12.53g
IRON 0.15mg
Vitamin C 7.5mg

source: USDA Nutrient Database (


Though persimmon trees belong to the same genus as ebony trees, persimmon tree wood has a limited use in the manufacture of objects requiring hard wood. Most notably D. virginiana, the lightly coloured, fine-grained wood of which is used for some of the best golfclub heads and billiard cues and historically for the shuttles used in the textile industry.


Mitchell, Indiana has an annual persimmon festival ( (every September) that features a persimmon pudding contest. Persimmon pudding is a baked pudding that has the consistency of pumpkin pie but resembles a brownie and is almost always served with a topping of whipped cream.

Winning recipes from the persimmon festival. ( es:Caqui fi:Kakiluumu fr:Plaqueminier ja:カキ (植物) pt:Caqui ru:Хурма zh:柿子


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