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Persimmon Fruits


     Persimmon - DIOSPYROS KAKI L

     Origin and Spreading

     The Persimmon comes from North-west China. We meet it in man's everyday life since pre-historic times. It is being grown in China and Japan from time immemorial. There are some trees which are 400-500 years old. This fruit is highly appreciated in these countries and the fruit culture as whole bears great economic importance. The European found the fruit in Japan from where it was taken in Europe and America under the name "Japanese hurma", also known as Subtropic hurma, East hurma, Kaki, Persimmon and Paradise apple.

     It was imported in Europe (South France) for the first time in 1760. Lately, in the beginning of XX century - it was spreaded to the all Mediterranean lands and America, mainly in the USA, the Crimea, the Caucasian coast,and other areas of the former USSR.

     The Bulgarian name - "Paradise apple", which carries the Japanese "scent", shows the impression and the appraisal of the Bulgarian who first gave called it this way. It's not only the fiery orange colour of the fruit that gives it the name but also the heterogeneous chemical composition and unsurpassed taste. The fresh fruit contains up to 17-20% sugars (above 70% for the dried), 85-90% of which is fructose which leads to the fact that they are not harmful for the diabetics. The fruits also contain proteins (0.33 - 1.18%), pectin, some acids (0.41 - 0.92%), tannin (0.10 - 1.50%), mineral salt(especially potassium salt), vitamins (up to 45mg vitamin C), carrotine (up to 6.3mg), iodine (up to 39mg), vitamins A,B,P,E, and others. Due to the reach chemical composition of those fruits they are highly appreciated not only as sort of food but also as dietetic and medicinal substance. They are especially recommendable for treatment of some particular secretory system disorders, Grave's disease, anemia, and others. The high evaluation of the quality of that fruit tree is expressed also through its Latin name - Diospyros which means "food for the gods", and the Japanese version "kaki" is translated as "fruit of the fruits". In South Italy the Persimmon is known as "the holy tree". The fruits are mainly consumed in fresh condition, in China they are dried. The fresh fruits could also be processed into jam or marmalade.
     In our country the persimmon was imported in the beginning of the 20-th century. Single trees are cultivated in some of the Black Sea shore towns, Sliven, Stara Zagora, Sandanski,and other towns mainly in South Bulgaria.
     The persimmon has three main quailities that are of great importance:
       1) high biological value of the fruit
       2) regular and bounteous crop
       3) great stability and original beauty

     Varieties

COSTATA. This variety is widely spread in our country due to its very good reaction to cold. The crown is pyramidal shaped. The leaves are big, thick, shiny green, before the fall of the leaf they become carmine red with copper-,blood-red to violet red sectors and spots. It only flourishes in female blossoms. It is referred to astringent varieties. It has high fertility.

     The fruit is massive (100-150gr). It has wide-conic shape with longitudinal furrows. Calyx is with half-upright leaflets. Skin is smooth, yellow-red. Flesh is bright orange, juicy, tart until soft. Fruits are usually seedless. Ripens in October - November.

HACHIYA. One of the most precious large fruit varieties. Tree is fast-growing with flat pyramidal shaped crown. Leaves are large, dark green and slighlty coloured in the fall. Astringent variety.

     Fruit is large (200-350g) with wide bright orange oblong-conica shape. Skin is thin and yellow almost orange when soft. Soft flesh is sweet (about 16% sugars), thick, jelly, tasty and satiate. Variety is appropriate for cultivating in all relatively warmer areas of the country.

HYAKUME. Ancient Japanese variety. Huge trees with well-covered or domed shape of the crown. Leaves average in size. Female flowers only. Referred to the group of the variant varieties.

     Fruit is large (300-450gr). Well-covered fhape. Seeded fruits flesh darkens. Calyx is with large, stuck to the fruit leaflets. Seedless fruits have yellow orange skin and bright orange yellow, astringent flesh. Seeded (with 3-5 seeds) - bright orange skin, which becomes darker red orange when ripe with orange brown flesh with dark nerves, juicy and sweet ven while the fruit is still hard. Ripens in October - November.
     This variety is highly extractive (80-120kg from a tree), well-reacting to cold, grows and produces well even in drier conditions.
     The variety is precious due to the high quality of the fruits, the bounteous crop, and the good resistance to cold.

JIRO-TANENASHI. Japanese variety. Trees are with rounded crowns and well growing. Leaves are average in size, oval-lanceolate, become green to yellow orange in the fall. Astringent variety. Female flowers mainly, male - rarely.

     Fruit are medium-sized (120-150gr) round-conical with yellow-orange skin. Flesh is orange, juicy, tasty. Leaflets are levitated. Fruits are appropriate for drying because of their shape. They are good for consumption in fresh condition as well. Ripen in October, the beginning of November.

RANNA(EARLY). Found in the town of Varna with unknown origin. Trees are well-growing with rounded crown. Leaves are medium-sized, slightly tortile. Bright orange to bright orange red colour in the fall. Astringent variety. Female flowers only.

     Fruit is medium-sized (100-120gr) with slightly flattened to mostly cubic shape. Skin of ripe is orange-red with darker spots. Soft flesh is red orange, juicy, tasty. Leaflets are levitated. Ripens in the first half of October.
     This variety is precious for its early ripening, with its tasty fruits and good resistance to cold.

CHINIBULI. Japanese variety. Tree is well growing, rounded crown with slightly bending branches. Leaves are medium-sized oval to heart shaped, with shortly sharp top. Yellow orange to orange red in the fall.

     Fruit are seedless (150-250gr) flat rounded, with four sided square transverse section. The four parts are well shaped by furrows which are situated along the whole side of the fruit - from the top to the bottom. Beside the basic four furrows there are four more but shallower and half shorter from the top to the equatorial line. All that contributes to the specific beauty of the fruit. Skin is almost yeallow, but when fruit is soft becomes reddish. Ripens in October but could be consumed in the very beginning of the colouring. Fles is orange, crunchy, sweet, very tasty. Fruits can be dried.

     Cultivation Of Persimmon

     The succes in cultivating this relatively warm loving plant depends on the right choice of place. Suitable places for the persimmon are warm, well lighted, protected from cold winds places - smooth or slight sloped.
     Trees can be planted both in the spring and the fall but not later than the end of March. Appropriate distances for the condtions in our country are 5m x 5m or 6m x 5m.
     Persimmon is relatively moisture loving plant and that's why it is very important that enough moisture is provided in the soil.
     Prune persimmon trees to develop a strong framework of main branches while the tree is young. Otherwise the fruit, which is borne at the tips of the branches, may be too heavy and cause breakage. A regular program of removal of some new growth and heading others each year will improve structure and reduce alternate bearing. An open vase system is probably best.

>      The rules for shaping the crown are the same as for all fruit trees. The first pruning is done after the trees are planted . They are prune off at height of 90-100 cm, in order the first skeletal branching to be at height of 70-80cm from the level of the soil. In the next year only 3 or 4 branches are not pruned from the first order(level) and they are at the distance of 10-15cm one from another serving as skeletal branches. The weak side branches are not pruned. Through the following prunes 2-3 more skeletal branches are formed.
     After the trees start producing fruit an yearly pruning is needed for regulation of the crop. The persimmon forms its buds on the basis of current growth. The fruit-bearing branches produce fruits only once that is why they should be pruned.

     Harvest

     Longer the ripe fruits stay on the tree, more delicious they become in fresh condition. The could not be damaged by the mild fall freeze and rarely are damaged by the first frost with temperature of -5 C.
     Early varieties ripens in October, later could be ready to harvest even in December.
     Fruits should be cut off very carefully with pruning shears not to be damaged. The stalk is cut to the calyx. Fruits with not stalk and calyx perish very fast.

     Harvested fruits are arranged in trays or other сontainers in the following order: the first row are put with calyx - downwards and the second raw - upwards so that they will not be damaged.