Deciduous tree. Shoots hairy at first. Leaves ovate to obovate, shiny above, veins prominent below; orange in autumn. Flowers to about 1.5 cm long, inconspicuous; males with 16-24 stamens, females pale yellow on stalks to 3 cm long; spring. Fruit variously shaped but mostly spherical or slightly flattened, the sepals persistent and enlarged at the base of the fruit, mostly yellow to orange, occasionally red.
Persimmon are grown both for the fruit and for the spectacular autumn foliage. It is an ancient fruit crop originating in China. Its recorded history spans more than 2000 years and, until the 1950s, was the most widely consumed fruit in China and Japan. The early introductions to Australia are attributed to the Chinese goldminers in the late 1800s, the first recorded fruiting plant raised in the Brisbane Botanical Gardens in 1864. Commercially persimmons have been available for many years. J.C. Cole, of Glen Harrow, Belgrave Victoria, had at least 10 varieties available over 100 years ago and many have been available for over 20 years.
In 1995 Australia would have about 150 000 trees in commercial production of which SE Qld and NE NSW contain 40-50%, most of which have not reached full commercial yields. Next in importance are the Riverland region of South Australia and the Sunraysia area of NW Victoria with 15-20% of the total. Otherwise plantinngs are scattered down the eastern and southern coasts. Recent plantings are being established in NE Victoria at Tallangatta, Euroa and Echuca.
Japan has produced over 1000 cultivars, some of which are grown in Australia. The important cultivar 'Fuyu' was introduced by CSIRO in 1969. Australia's only major research program has been carried out by the University of Queensland and the Queensland Department of Primary Industries since the late 1880s with studies of productivity in the subtropics, storage behaviour and value-added processed products. Major expansion of the industry has occurred in the 1990s in response to export marketing opportunities in Asia through the Australian Persimmon Export Company.
Persimmon fruits have a characteristic astringency due to tannic acic; the few cultivars selected to counteract this have proved very popular and were first grown commercially north of Brisbane in the 1970s; they may, however, require warmer conditions. Most astringent cultivars set fruit without pollination but non-astringent cultivars are more productive if cross-pollinated with another cultivar.
The fruit is edible and especially popular in Japan and China; also in Asia the fruit is used both dried and as a source of sugar.
Source: (1997). Diospyros. In: . Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 2. Flowering plants. Dicotyledons. Part 1. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.
Self-fertile. Fruit flattened, flesh yellow.
Large high-yielding tree. Fruit smallish, round and yellow, mildly astringent.
Fruit lacking the usual astringency, large, thin-skinned and yellow. Currently the most important commercial cultivar comprising about 80% of production (mid-season).
Fruit late, large and red skinned.
Relatively small tree tolerant of cool autumns. An early season non-astringent cultivar.
An early to midseason cultivar.
Fruit small and non-astringent.
['Hachiya'] Fruit large, conical.
Fruit with sweet flesh, large, orange-red (late season).
Fruit prolific, seedless, yellow.
Fruit medium sized, flattened.
Small tree with round, flattened orange fruit.