Which is better: 'Early Golden' or 'Meader' Persimmon.

njbiologyAugust 23, 2007

For those experience with either or both, which Persimmon tree is better: 'Early Golden' or 'Meader' - both being Diospyrus virginiana (American Persimmon).

I think that the 'Early Golden' produces a larger fruit but then why did Meader select his cultivar to succeed it - perhaps based on taste.



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Looks like there are two important American Persimmons which are FULLY self-fertile:

Jim Claypool's F-100 & Szuki.

I can use these to fertilize my Meader, and at the same time get fruit from them, instead of using a plain male which will not produce fruit.

Now, I have to figure out if Meader is all that great - with polination, it won't be seedless, it seems and without polination, it will likely produce no fruit, unlike in the Pacific North West.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2007 at 7:08PM
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Have you ever eaten an American persimmon? If not, I suggest you do so before committing yourself to planting a lot of these things. They are an acquired taste, and not everyone likes them. A Meader tree or other American persimmon makes an attractive and slow-growing landscape specimen, but the fruit these trees produce, when they finally do produce a few, is usually quite small, (some would call them tiny), with a very astringent taste. I know they have their fans, but for me, planting an American persimmon would be way down the list of choices for growing actual fruit. I don't fully understand the desire to plant "native" species when growing fruit, but calling these trees native is a bit of a stretch anyway.

My daughter has a 10-year old Meader in her front yard, which has grown up to be quite a handsome little tree about 15 feet tall. The leaves are dark green and shiny, and the wood hard and durable, almost immune to borers and other pests. But this tree has set only a small sprinkling of fruit, which, when tasted, pretty much ended the dreams of eating persimmons. However, as a landscape specimen, it is one of the prettiest trees she has.

If you want persimmons that are large and sweet enough to be worth eating, plant an Asian type, which also have the advantage of earlier bearing and better controlled tree size. Your climate may seem marginal for Asians, but they are certainly not out of the question. I planted three different varieties this past spring, bareroot from Womack Nursery in DeLeon Texas. They are doing very well and putting on a lot of growth, but we will see what happens after a few winters. Since we haven't had a really cold winter in over 10 years, I expect them to be fine.

Don Yellman, Great Falls, VA

    Bookmark   August 23, 2007 at 8:49PM
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Hi, Don,

Could I get a couple digital photos of that 15' tree. I would plant it in front of my house if it would develop into a nice looking tree - i've seen photos of American Persimmon and they don't look like an organized looking tree - kind of scrubby. But i've heard people say that the Meaders make good landscaping specimens.

So, if possible, I'd love to see how that tree looks.

As for the native thing, everything that I grow is native - Meader is more of a selection of a selection - so it's sort of native enough. As for the taste, I wish that I could find them being sold so I can know how they taste. Maybe other forms are better?


    Bookmark   August 23, 2007 at 10:49PM
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I will try to get a photo of my daughter's Meader in the next few days, then see if I can post it. My son showed me how to post photos, and I have a specfic website to keep them, but I do seem to forget the details, and may need a refresher course.

Don Yellman, Great Falls, VA

    Bookmark   August 24, 2007 at 2:26AM
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Don raises an important point - if you've never eaten an American persimmon, are you sure you want to dedicate space and time to planting two or more?
I've attempted to share good ripe persimmons and pawpaws(as well as a number of other 'minor' fruits) with friends, family, and co-workers, but most Americans these days are uncomfortable with a soft, fragrant, intensely flavorful fruit - and particularly with persimmons and pawpaws, I find that they fall into two camps - those who find them delectable, and those who find them disgustingly insipid - and the majority of folks are in the second category.

Persimmons probably don't have the 'formal' habit many folks consider desirable when they're planning a landscape planting, but as Don indicated, they don't have major disease/pest problems - though I do see borers, twig girdlers, black leaf spot, and leaf curl due to persimmon psylla infestation on a regular basis. There are some selections that have good fall color - 'Wabash' and 'Redland Rd.' have great red-purple fall leaf color. 'Great Wall'(D.kaki) has great red fall color, and I've had a couple of as-yet-unnamed Korean selections that had vibrant blaze-orange fall color.

Here is a link that might be useful: Persimmons at NRNTN

    Bookmark   August 24, 2007 at 10:06AM
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chills71(Zone 6b Mi)


What do you consider "putting on a lot of growth" with regard to your Kaki Persimmon? ( and how big were they to begin with?)

Mine was planted last year (about 10 inches tall at planting time) and it has grown to about 2 feet as of now. I did get a swarf (supposedly) variety, but I would like to know if a foot a year is typical (of course if it keeps doubling in size I'll be likely to start complaining again in a few more years...lol


btw...posting pics. upload the pic to photobucket (or similar hosting site) and use the URL address under the pic right in the message window.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2007 at 4:47PM
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I'll put in my 2 cents worth. I planted both Early Golden and Meader in around 1988 or 1989. Purchased them from Raintree Nursery in Washington state.

Both trees grew well and began to bear in about 3 or 4 years. Unfortunately, the 'Early Golden' succumb to a record cold snap in the mid-1990's of around -30 degrees Fahrenheit air temps with windchills in the -70 to -80 degree range. The 'Early Golden' did manage to have a few small crops of fruits before it died. The fruits were a little bigger than the 'Meader' and did ripen two or three weeks earlier. As far as flavor goes, though, I personally have found any American persimmon I have ever tried (which isn't too many varieties) to taste about the same. I have several seedling American persimmons in my yard, and all of the fruits taste the same to me, but the cultivated ones are definitely larger fruits than the seedling ones.

The 'Meader' was undamaged, and has thrived. It is now about 25 feet tall, and bears large crops of ping-pong ball sized (little smaller than a golf ball, anyway) fruits every year. Because I also have a couple of male American persimmons on the property, the tree does get pollinated, so SOME of the fruits, about half, have some seeds, varying between one and four or five.

The fruits ripen VERY late, in early November here in S. Michigan. If you like persimmons, they are very tasty. I particular enjoy eating them frozen right off of the tree on cold days -- they are natural popsicles. Flavor-wise, I would describe American persimmons as a cross between an Asian persimmon and a date. They are drier than Asian persimmons, but very sweet. They MUST be fully ripe, mushy, and have changed from opaque to transluscent to be edible. Eaten too early, they are highly astringent, and will literally peel the tissue from the inside of your cheeks and gums (painless but gross!). Aside from eating them as a fruit, I have found that they can be substituted for pumpkin or winter squash in any dessert recipe, even pumpkin pie, but are especially good for spice cakes and quick breads.

The American persimmon tree is a very attractive yard tree, with glossy green foliage which changes to yellow with some red and purple in the fall, and a nice, symetrical shape as long as the tree is planted in full sun. Planted in shade, the trees do tend to be spindly and scrubby looking. I have never had any disease problems with my trees, and the only insect problem I have ever observed have been tentworm/fall webworm infestations, which are essentially just a cosmetic problem.

I do have problems with deer stripping the fruits off of the lower branches and with crows and other birds attacking the fruits as they approach full ripeness. But this, too, is a problem common to almost any fruit tree -- i just lost a very nice crop of Asian pears in the course of just a few days to a voracious red squirrel!

'Meader' is definitely a more winter-hardy plant than the 'Early Golden.' If I HAD to choose only one, I would go with the 'Early Golden' if my climate would support it, because the fruits were bigger. However, there really isn't a big difference between the two from what limited experience I had with my 'Early Golden.' Personally, I would LOVE to be able to plant an Asian persimmon, but they won't grow in my climate, and I'll just have to be content with buying them in the fall when they're on sale at the grocery store.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2007 at 10:00PM
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Thanks so much for your response - I was extremely surprised and excited to read it because you are the only one that I've been able to speak with with a mature Meader Persimmon (25') and with the experience, even briefly, with both Meader and Early Golden.

1. If it's 25' tall, how wide is it?

2. Is there any chance that you would not mind posting a few good photos of the tree so I have a good idea as to how it would look if I put it in my front yard? If you have a larger tree, in addition, could you take of photo or two of it?

I've been trying to find a photo of a Persimmon tree around 25' - 30' so that I can know what my Meader might look one day. I just bought it a few months ago and am debating putting it in the front, depending on how it will look.

Thanks and please let me know if you are able to photograph it,


    Bookmark   August 26, 2007 at 11:15PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Steve, the Google image search tool pulls up multiple pictures -- see below.


Here is a link that might be useful: Google image search

    Bookmark   August 27, 2007 at 12:43PM
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I found this discussion interesting since I planted 4 Asian persimmons and 2 American persimmons last year. All were 1 gallon size. All trees are doing well. Only San Pedro fruited this year. I decided to visit Edible Landscaping in Charlottesville, VA were I had purchased my trees. They have a good collection of both types of trees. All had fruit in various stages of ripeness. I had not tasted an American persimmon since I was a young child, and frankly, we enjoyed throwing mushy persimmons at each other more than eating them at that age. I have had hard ripe Fuyu from the grocery store. I was delighted to find that they were all wonderful. I do like the hard and soft ripe Asians but the Americans were much more unique and flavorful. After those, the Asians were fairly bland. They had Meador, Ruby and Yates. They sell these and I now have one of each. These all tasted basically the same. Ruby and Meador were smaller (~2"), Yates ~2.5" and the Asians quite large. Sheng was easily the size of a softball. All of these had seeds. The American trees were larger and more open, about 15 to 20 feet, and had much more fruit. The best tasting of the lot was Weber. They have a tree in the orchard but none for sale, unfortunately. I will try a small graft onto one of my trees. I will try to get a picture of the fruit posted.

Here is a link that might be useful: Edible Landscaping

    Bookmark   October 10, 2007 at 9:18PM
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I have an american persimmon growing on my property. I don't know the variety. Beautiful tree, very sweet ping pong sized fruit w/seeds when ripe in fall. I don't know how old it is(it was fully grown when I bought my property 6 years ago- about 50- 60 ft tall). It has really been a no maintenance tree. Tree has a beautiful shape for winter interest.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2008 at 1:22AM
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I have the following native persimmons fruiting: blue, john rick, yates, ruby and meader. This year will be the first time my early golden has set any fruit so I am anxious to try it compared to the others. Regarding meader I find it to be the sweetest variety I have tried so far with very good flavor and relatively few seed. The tree is also very ornamental having the largest leaves but may be a little weaker wooded than others, it tends to overbear and break easily.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 12:11PM
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