By Jannie Vaught
Today as I was enjoying my morning walk through the garden and fruit trees I was thinking. “What fruit tree inspires me for being thankful?” It is surprisingly the Persimmon, Diospyros texana.
Texas persimmons are native from Northern Mexico to Central Texas. Extremely drought resistant and a graceful slow-growing tree, bearing a black fruit. Often called black persimmon. Another reason to “go native”. This is often overlooked when landscaping, but this is a treasure to have in your food orchard. Natives take care of native birds, and insects and give us a deep rich fruit to make most any jam or jelly, and I’ve even made Mead with it! I was gifted 2 of these from a local gardener in coffee cans. I was curious about them and only had seen them in the wild. He had directions for planting and growing so I planted them close together as one was very small and I wanted the support of the larger plant. After 4 years I finally saw it bloom a 1/2 ” white bloom, and it did produce fruit, but since there were only a few the birds enjoyed them. I rarely tend them I do water as I water my fruit trees and they get some chicken run compost yearly.
Upon further research, they are in the ebony family, black wood, and are used in making select items with black wood like the keys on a piano. They are multi-trunked bush or small tree with a semi ovate leaf and are somewhat evergreen. Another persimmon that is in our food orchard is a Fuyu persimmon which I bought at a nursery 4 years ago. it has produced fruit every year, but again it is slow to mature and they tend to bend over at the top. I kept trying to stake it and make it upright, but it is not that way in nature. This tree is hardy and has stunning large shiny leathery leaves with fruit that does take some time to ripen. The Asian varieties are smaller the fruit is squat in shape with no problem of the pucker effect when they are not fully ripened when you pick them. They have beautiful fall colored leaves that are worth having this tree. Simply stunning in its glowing orange and gold colors. If I had to pick a Holiday fruit and tree that for me brings me the height of happy gratitude thoughts it is the Persimmon, Native and domestic. This plant has stood the test of time and is standing strong as a Texas Native to add to your fruit forest.
As a child, my favorite Auntie would make persimmon cookies every fall. Soft spicy and sweet. A strong happy memory for me and a big reason I grow them. But I can’t seem to get past the eating of them fresh to make her cookies. Maybe next year. If you are looking to add a medium-sized native fruit tree I strongly suggest the Black Persimmon and a few are best, but the newer varieties for eating big sweet fruit grow a grafted one, and as I have learned grow both. They are worth the time and patience..
Growing Green With Jannie