This summary was prepared from a publication by
Chia, C. L. et. al..
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Diospyros kaki
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Persimmon is a dioecious, deciduous tree growing to 25 ft
(7.6 m) high. It has ovate or obovate leaves, 3 in. to 7
in. (7.6-17.8 cm) long that are shiny on top and
pubescent beneath. The leaves are borne on pubescent
branchlets. Persimmon flowers are yellowish white and
0.75 in. (1.9 cm) long. Staminate (male) flowers have 16
to 24 stamens, while pistillate (female) flowers have
eight staminodes. The fruit is classified as a a juicy
berry. It is 3.5 in. (8.9 cm) in diameter and variable in
shape, with a pale yellow, orange, or red exterior, and
with orange flesh. There is an enlarged persistent calyx
at its base. Fruits are usually set in clusters.
VARIETIES Back To: Menu Bar
Persimmon cultivars 'Fuyu', 'Maru', and 'Hachiya'
(Figures 1-6) are grown in Hawaii. The shape of 'Fuyu'
fruit is flattened, 'Maru' is rounded, and 'Hachiya' is
heart-shaped and pointed at the apex. 'Fuyu' is the most
widely planted cultivar in Japan and is noted for its
nonastringent fruit, good yield, vigorous upright growth
habit, and ease of training. 'Maru' has somewhat brittle
branches, and the fruit is astringent, maturing about
three weeks earlier than 'Fuyu'. 'Hachiya' fruit is also
astringent before softening. These and most other
cultivars bear only functionally female flowers (with
stamens present but sterile) that without fertilization
produce seedless (parthenocarpic) fruit. In Japan, these
flowers are sometimes hand-pollinated with pollen from
varieties that bear male flowers. Growers there believe
that pollination helps to produce better fruit and that
parthenocarpic fruit tends to drop prematurely.
Handpollination is not practiced in Hawaii.
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The fruit is usually eaten fresh. The fruits can also be
dried for storage and later consumption.
PROPAGATION Back To: Menu Bar
Diospyros kaki seedlings are the preferred rootstocks for
persimmon cultivars. They develop long taproots with few
fibrous laterals, and rootstock cultivars have been
selected that produce vigorous, uniform seedlings.
Rootstocks of D. virginiana (American persimmon) and D.
Iotus (date plum) are known to be better for wet soils,
but the former produces variable trees and excessive
suckering. D. Iotus is susceptible to crown gall and is
incompatible with the 'Fuyu' cultivar as rootstocks or
Seeds are sown in 3-in.-deep (7.6-cm) containers. When
seedlings are 3 in. (7.6 cm) high, they are transplanted
to deep plastic planting bags6 x 18 in. (15.2 x
45.7 cm)or to nursery beds. At that time, the
bottom one-fourth of the taproot is pruned to encourage
lateral rooting. Grafting is done during the dormant
season on rootstock stems that are at least 3/8 in. (9
mm) in diameter. Whip-grafting low on the rootstock is
preferred, but chip-budding is also done. Scions with two
to four buds from the previous season's growth are used.
After grafting, the scion should be enclosed in a plastic
bag to maintain high humidity. Large plants may be
bark-grafted or cleft-grafted. In Hawaii, the three
cultivars commonly grown develop very few seeds, and seed
for rootstocks is usually obtained from California.
SOIL TYPE and
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Persimmon grows best on loamy soils, such as the Kula
series. Light, sandy soils are not suitable, but it will
grow on many other soil types and is tolerant of heavy
clay soils if drainage is not severely impeded. Soil pH
of 6.0 to 6.5 is preferred.
Persimmon is grown commercially in Hawaii above
elevations of 2000 ft (609 m). It is sometimes grown as a
home garden fruit in cool locations at lower elevations.
Most of the current production is in the Kula district of
Maui, where persimmon flowers in March and April.
Rainfall of at least 30 in. (762 mm) is required for good
Wind damage seldom occurs in Kula, but in other areas,
trees should be protected from strong winds. In the
spring, the young foliage is easily damaged. In the fall,
premature defoliation by wind affects fruit quality and
the next year's production. Branches with heavy crop
loads may be broken during windy weather. Shading by
windbreak trees should be avoided. If persimmon does not
receive full sun, weak growth and fruit drop may result.
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Tree spacing averages 15 ft to 20 ft (4.6-6.1 m) apart
but varies with cultivar and soil fertility. Generally,
wider spacing is used on deeper, more fertile soils. In
Japan. trees are sometimes planted at close spacing and
thinned after five to 10 years. Care is necessary when
transplanting to the field, because persimmon roots are
fragile and easily damaged by drying or rough handling.
Young plants are trained to a modified central-leader
structure by pruning shoots during the first few seasons,
forcing growth into framework branches. The aim is to
develop a pyramidal shape with from three to five main
limbs at about 1-ft (30-cm) intervals on the trunk,
beginning at about 3 ft (91 cm) above ground level.
Staking with 5-ft (1.5-m) stakes may aid in training
young trees. Pruning mature plants is done during the
dormant winter months (Figure 7) to remove crossover,
diseased, or broken branches. Pruning is also done to
remove weak, shaded branches, open the canopy to prevent
self-shading, reduce excessively vigorous shoot growth,
and regulate crop load.
Persimmon fruit is borne on the current season's branch
growth. After three to five years, bracing may be needed
to prevent the weight of the fruit from breaking branches
(Figure 8). Pruning secondary branches so that bearing
shoots are kept close to the main branches may help to
avoid a drooping habit and reduce the need for bracing.
'Fuyu' fruit clusters are usually thinned to increase
Irrigation to supplement rainfall is desirable at times
such as after transplanting, particularly when
bare-rooted stock is used; during the spring growth
flush; and during summer, if weather is dry or soils are
Commercial growers in Hawaii use either 1616-16 or
10-20-20 N-P-K fertilizer, applied in February or March
when new shoots emerge. Excessive nitrogen fertilization
will force vegetative growth, so moderate fertilizer
applications are desirable .
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See Cultural Practices
HARVEST Back To: Menu Bar
Persimmons are harvested when mature but still firm, with
color nearly fully developed. 'Maru' fruit is greenish
yellow when ripe; 'Fuyu' and 'Hachiya' fruits are orange.
The fruit is removed from the tree by clipping or
breaking the stems, leaving the calyx lobes attached to
the fruit (Figures 2, 4, 6). Persimmons must be handled
carefully to avoid damage. Rough handling causes bruising
and skin discoloration.
Harvest season varies with elevation, being later at
higher elevations. The usual harvest season for 'Maru' in
Kula is October to November; for 'Fuyu', October to
December; and for 'Hachiya' November to December.
POSTHARVEST Back To: Menu Bar
Both 'Fuyu' and 'Maru' fruits are firm when ripe. 'Maru'
fruit needs to be cured after maturity to remove
astringency caused by tannins. The nonastringent 'Fuyu'
fruit is ripened on the tree and is ready to eat when
harvested. 'Hachiya' fruit can be picked when firm and
ripened at room temperature until soft. Its astringency
is eliminated during the ripening process. Its color
should be well developed before picking, or it may soften
unevenly and remain astringent.
Astringency is removed from 'Maru' persimmons by a number
of curing methods. Pollination may cause the fruit to
cure on the tree. Pollination is indicated by the
presence of seeds in the fruit, and the tree-cured fruit
is known as "chocolate" 'Maru'. Two common
postharvest curing treatments involve enclosing fruit in
an airtight container and exposing it to the vapors of
ethyl alcohol (35 to 40 percent alcohol) or dry ice
(frozen carbon dioxide). In one example of an alcohol
method, about 30 lb (13.6 kg) of fruit is treated with 5
oz to 7 oz (148-207 ml) of ethyl alcohol, sealed for
three days, then removed and held at room temperature for
several days until edible (Kitagawa and Glucina, 1984).
The liquid alcohol need not contact the fruit. With the
carbon dioxide method, about 60 lb (27.2 kg) of fruit is
enclosed with a 1.25 lb (0.6-kg) block of dry ice and
kept sealed for two to three days. The dry ice should not
contact the fruit. After curing, the flesh of 'Maru'
fruits may contain brown spotting, which is a normal
result of tannin breakdown (Figure 3).
Refrigeration after softening prolongs the storage life
of 'Hachiya' fruit. For longer storage, persimmons may be
peeled, pureed, and frozen or frozen whole in plastic
bags. 'Maru' and 'Hachiya' fruits may be peeled when firm
and dried; drying removes astringency.
DISEASES Back To: Menu Bar
Crown gall (Agrobacterium tumefaciens)
Anthracnose (Colletotrichum sp.)
Fruit drop (physiological causes, including excessive
shoot growth, insufficient sunlight, and lack of
INSECTS Back To: Menu Bar
Ants (associated with mealybugs)
PRODUCTION Back To: Menu Bar
No exclusive information at this time. Persimmon is
grouped with other tropical specialty fruits such as
abiu, caimito, durian, langsat, longan, loquat,
mangosteen, sapodilla, soursop, and white sapote. In
1992, these crops were grown on 120 acres on 55 farms.
There were 1,640 trees that bore fruit out of 10,440
trees. There were 301,000 pounds of these specialty
fruits produced in 1992, and the total value of sale was
REFERENCES Back To: Menu Bar
Chia, C. L., Clark S. Hashimoto and Dale O. Evans. 1989.
Persimmon. Commodity Fact Sheet Pers-3(A) Fruit. Hawaii
Cooperative Extension Service, CTAHR, University of
Kitagawa, H. and P. G. Glucina. 1984. Persimmon Culture
in New Zealand. New Zealand Department of Science and
Industrial Research, Science Information Publishing
Centre, Wellington. Information series No. 159.74 pp.
Neal, Marie C. In Gardens of Hawaii. Hawaii: Bishop
Museum Press, 1965.
Opitz, K. W. and J. H. Larue. 1975. Growing Persimmons.
Division of Agricultural Sciences, University of
California, Berkeley. Leaflet No. 2457. 8pp.
Statistics of Hawaiian Agriculture 1991. Prepared by:
Hawaii Agricultural Statistics Service, PO. Box 22159,
Honolulu, Hawaii, 96823-2159. December 1992. 105 pages.