The American Persimmon, also known as the Common Persimmon tree, is the most commonly seen in North America. Its versatile fruit is loved by humans and animals alike.
In this post you’ll learn what the American Persimmon Tree looks like, the health benefits of persimmons, and how to grow your own.
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Characteristics of the American Persimmon
American Persimmon is a low-maintenance, native tree that produces fruit richer in taste than the other commonly known Asian Persimmon tree.
While this tree is most known for its unique fruit, The American Persimmon tree is also grown as an ornamental tree in many landscape designs.
What Does it Look Like?
Moderately sized American Persimmon trees are generally around 20 feet tall. Their bright orange fruit pops against the green leaves that later turn leathery and purple come fall.
The American Persimmon Tree is standard-sized. If you’re interested in smaller, compact trees, look at our post on Dwarf Persimmon Trees.
What Does it Taste Like?
There are many opinions when it comes to describing the taste of persimmon. Most can agree it has a honey-like taste with a texture similar to a date. Others say it reminds them of a cantaloupe.
What Does it Smell Like?
Interestingly, while most can’t agree on what a persimmon tastes like, its smell reminds many of a cross between an apricot and a peach. Its similar texture to these fruits may have something to do with the vast agreement of its smell.
History of the American Persimmon
The American Persimmon tree is native to North America. It was first discovered in 1609 by Captain John Smith.
The name “persimmon” comes from ‘butchamin,’ which is a phonetic rendering of the name used by the Algonquin tribe of the American Indians.
Ways to Enjoy
Persimmons are both versatile and delicious. Because they can only be harvested once a year, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with so much fruit at once. Luckily, they can be enjoyed raw, cooked, and preserved.
Be sure to wait until after the first frost to harvest your persimmons. Although they may look and feel ripe, they won’t taste sweet until that first frost’s bite.
If eaten before frost, they have a very dry, bitter taste due to the amount of a chemical called tannins found in the fruit.
Persimmons can be enjoyed fresh off the tree. The skins are perfectly edible, and the fruit can be sliced like an apple.
The most tried and true way to enjoy persimmons is Persimmon Pudding. This rich cake-like dessert is delicious with honey, whipped cream, or caramel sauce. Its warm depth of flavor is an inviting recipe to serve guests on cold fall days.
The most common way to preserve persimmons is by drying them. While you can dry them using a dehydrator or oven, a unique way to dry persimmons is by making Hoshigaki, a Japanese Dried Persimmon.
Not only are these delicious but they can also be used as a unique fall decoration when hung in your window.
Spicy Persimmon Preserves are another delicious way to use an overabundance of persimmons. These preserves can top ice cream, spread over warm toast, or eat them alone.
Freezing Persimmons is another great way to preserve them from being used later.
Health Benefits of Persimmons
Persimmons are rich in antioxidants, fiber, and other nutrients needed to keep our bodies functioning properly.
The leaves of the persimmon contain vitamin C and fiber. They’re often used in therapeutic teas.
Growing Your American Persimmon Tree
Because the American Persimmon Tree is native to North America, it’s low maintenance.
If you’re growing a persimmon tree for the fruit, it’s important to know that you must have two trees to cross-pollinate and produce fruit.
From planting to seeing fruit on your tree can take seven years. While that’s a long time to wait, once you taste the fruit of your patience, it’ll be worth every bite! For more information, take a look at our post How Fast Does a Persimmon Tree Grow.
Grow Zone & Soil Type
Persimmon trees grow best in zones 5-9. They love loamy, organic-rich soil. They tolerate other types of soil as long as drainage is good.
When ready to plant, prepare a hole 3 times the width of the pot and as deep as the root ball. You’ll want to mulch your trees in the spring and late summer to hold moisture close to the trunk.
If planting more than one tree, don’t plant any closer than ten feet. Most commercial growers plant their trees twenty feet apart.
As mentioned before, caring for an American Persimmon Tree is fairly easy because they are native to North America.
Depending on your soil, you may need to water up to twice a week until the roots are established. When watering, be sure to soak the root system entirely.
Pruning isn’t necessary unless you’re correcting the tree by removing broken, diseased, or interfering branches.
When your tree begins bearing fruit, you may be eager to harvest. You’ll know they are ready to harvest once the fruit is deep orange, the skin is translucent, and the first frost has passed.
You must be vigilant and ready to harvest quickly to beat deer and squirrels to this delicious fruit.
Where to Buy
If you’re interested in trying your hand at growing your own American Persimmon tree, take a glance at Stark Bros Nursery. They have multiple varieties of American Persimmon trees to catch your eye.
Wrapping up The American Persimmon Tree
Now that you know the history and benefits of an American Persimmon Tree, you can take your newfound knowledge into the world (or your backyard!) and put it to the test!
If you aren’t completely sold on American Persimmon, many other types can be read on our Persimmon Tree Types page.