Best American Persimmon Cultivars

brandon7 TN_zone(7)September 16, 2010

I'm planning on planting a few grafted Diospyros virginiana and want opinions on which are the best cultivars. I have wild (I'm assuming 60-chromosome versions) specimens growing in surrounding woody areas, but I'd like to choose three trees to plant in my orchard for the superior fruit in larger quantities (Usually the wildlife cleans up most of the fruit produced by the trees in the woods).

I was looking through the selection at Nolin River and was considering Loverboy and two female selections. I'm not really sure that Loverboy is necessary in this situation, but the native specimens are pretty far away.

Which three varieties/cultivars would you pick for this situation?

Here is a link that might be useful: Native Persimmon Cultivars at Nolin River Nut Tree Nursery

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Yates - definitely.
Early Golden has consistently won taste comparisons at the Claypool orchard in IN, year-in/year-out.
NC-10 is my top producer so far - and early - usually dropping ripe fruit around 15 Sept, but I've been gathering fruits for the past 2 weeks now.
Morris Burton reputed to be one of the best; mine have not fruited yet, so I can't verify that.

Have had a few fruits this year from Geneva Red(a Morris Burton seedling) and Claypool I-94 - both have good flavor and a deep rich red fruit color.

Closest native male to any of my grafted persimmons is at least a couple hundred yards away, and I've not grafted any males(other than a couple of 2-yr grafts of Szukis). I get plenty of fruits - and sometimes, plenty of seeds. Don't know that I'd dedicate space to a male, if there are natives in the area.

I'd say it would be hard to go wrong with any of those selections from NRTN or England's, but I've not yet had a 'blue' persimmon that wasn't a 'spitter', and most of the Americans I've run across that stayed on the tree far into winter were usually in that same category - not too tasty for human consumption.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2010 at 11:53AM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Lucky, Thanks very much! Your input confirms some of what I was thinking and had read, so I guess I have a pretty good idea about which female cultivars to plant.

I'm still toying with adding a 60-chromosome male cultivar. I've got the space, so it's not like it will be in the way. Of course I wouldn't plant it if I thought it would be completely useless. I'm still unsure how it would affect seed production in specific cultivars. I understand the 60/90 chromosome deal, but other factors (native trees, self-pollinating cultivars, etc) still raise questions in my mind.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2010 at 10:14PM
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bennylafleur(6 E. Tn.)

Brandon, in addition to what Lucky has stated, others to consider are Dollywood and Prok.
I seem to have a different experience here than other people growing Virginiana. The native here are 60 chromosome, I have not intentionally planted a 90 chromosome male, and the following have been seedless for me. Prok, Evelyn, Yates, MB3, Morris Burton, Geneva Red, Elmo, H-118, Killen, and J-20A.

These trees are in 2 locations, 30 minutes apart, and although I cannot find a native very close to either planting, it is my belief that a 60 will not pollinate a 90 and make viable seed. It might trick the 90 into believing that it has been pollinated, I just don't know.

And the fruit is smaller without seed, unless it is because all my trees are small, and will produce larger fruit as they gain some size.

One more thing. I am very sensitive to astringency, and the one that seems to completely lose it from every fruit is Morris Burton. It is smaller than the others, very sweet, although it doesn't seem to have the spicy flavor of some, and if pollinated, will have very few seeds.


    Bookmark   September 19, 2010 at 9:15AM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Benny, the idea of the 60-chromosome male is that it will pollinate the 90-chromosome females, but the seeds will be aborted. I'm just unsure about the other associated factors like whether I really need another pollinator with native persimmons within about a quarter of a mile from my orchard, and, whether some self-fertile 90-chromosome cultivars might throw a wrench in the works and produce seeds in other cultivars.

I'll definitely put in a 'Morris Burton'. I think I like sweeter varieties of fruit, but your comment about the lack of spiciness does make me wonder which end of the spectrum I might favor. I guess that's the advantage of having more than one cultivar.

I've never really been able to compare different varieties in any type of taste test. I used to have an old persimmon tree that provided fruit for a number of dishes, but I don't even know what cultivar it was. For all I know, it might even have just been a seedling. I guess in a few years, I'll know more (-:

    Bookmark   September 19, 2010 at 9:58PM
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alexander3_gw(6 Pennsylvania)

>some self-fertile 90-chromosome cultivars might throw a wrench in
>the works and produce seeds in other cultivars.

I would guess that once a flower has been fully pollinated by 60 chromosome pollen that it would no longer accept pollen of any kind. If that's the case, then you would reduce the incidence of seeds by keeping a 60 chromosome male close by, via pollen competition.

This past weekend I visited a farm that had several large persimmon trees, including one that was multi grafted. I know the conventional wisdom is that multi grafted persimmons are hard to maintain because they drop low branches, but these grafted branches were about 15 feet up the trunk and several inches in diameter. So, if you have a ladder, you could graft a male branch up high in a few years.


    Bookmark   September 20, 2010 at 11:01AM
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I agree with others that 'early golden' and 'yates' are hard to beat. Both are early ripening, large fruited and productive with great flavor. I have not found any that are better than these two.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2010 at 3:16PM
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Theoretically, my natives should be the 60-chromosome race; I don't know the actual 'dividing line' between 60c and 90c, but I've seen/heard the Ohio River proposed as the approximate declination, and I'm well south of it.

If you have space, I'd certainly consider Prok, too - it has fruited for me; large fruit with good flavor - was fully seeded last year. Some have alluded to the possibility that Prok is a D.k.XD.v hybrid, but I don't think so.
I grafted Korp(can't recall if that's a full sib or a seedling of Prok) into my collection this year.
I-94 is really good, too.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2010 at 12:42PM
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IMO a very worthy choice to add to your orchard. Of the many species of fruit that I grow, none are greater treats or more eagerly anticipated than properly ripened superior variety American persimmons. I'm puzzled that they aren't more popular - that fig enthusiasts, for example, haven't discovered them. Neither insipid, as kakis are prone to be, nor cloying, as many of the very sweet species of fruits can be, these are as richly flavored as they are sweet. My guess is that early experiences with wild or improperly ripened specimens have contributed to the lack of interest.

In choosing varieties, if you were planning a larger planting, I would say to consider some of the wild origin selections offered at Nolin River. But if you only want to plant a few trees, you might be happier choosing varieties that each offer a particular special quality that you desire. For example you may want one very early one, a seedless one, a relatively large one or one especially noted for its flavor or consistency. Notes available online on the Claypool varieties include information on these qualities and others about many of the trees in that breeding effort. Obtaining the trees or scions may take a bit of effort, though some of the better ones are available through nurseries such as England's.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 4:50AM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Well, I ordered a few persimmon trees from Nolin River today. I ended up getting Morris Burton and Early Golden, for now. Turns out they are out of many types and sizes, and I found out why. They had a bad flood in May (the same storm that flooded Nashville so badly). That is why they don't have pawpaws too.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2010 at 9:37PM
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can you compare Yates, Early Golden, NC-10 with each other for size, productivity and ripening time? thanks!

    Bookmark   October 27, 2010 at 11:47PM
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Which cultivars would be best to be able to take the hot (100ð+ F), dry August heat in Dallas, TX (8a) or just south of that (8b)?
"ThereâÂÂs only one condition persimmon ideal to our climate must fulfill - it has to have 90 chromosomes and originate in northern persimmon cultivation areas that have climate similar to Central European climate and microclimates. The second variant with 60 chromosomes is completely useless here, because it lacks the frost hardiness necessary to survive in our region and has too long vegetation period which would only mean that the fruit would never be able to ripen here and the persimmon tree will only hardly survive each winter."

Does this perhaps imply that 90 chromosome varieties are cold-hardier and 60 chromosome varieties can take more heat? Because I need the type that can take more heat & drought...
"The second race (hexaploid with 90 chromosomes) is thought to represent a more recent evolutionary change. It predomi- nates in areas north and west of the southern Appalachians. This race, which may deserve a separate subspecies rank, is more vigorous, cold hardy, and drought tolerant than the first.
D. kaki also has 90 chromosomes, and efforts have been made to obtain an interspecific hybrid."

Or are the 90 chromosome type (or Oriental varieties) actually more drought and/or heat-tolerant?

Also, a self-fertile type with a taller (vs low & spreading) habit would be nicer..

Here is a link that might be useful: Diospyros virginiana cultivars

This post was edited by blakrab on Tue, Mar 25, 14 at 13:23

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 12:59PM
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Tony(Zone 5. Omaha, Nebraska)


Here in Omaha the temp does get up to 100 degrees at times and it can dips down to -19F during some Winter months. All my American persimons seem to handle the heat just fine (Prok, Yates, U-20a, 100-42, 100-43' Lena, Ws8-10. Knightville, Geneva Long, H-118, H-120, Garretson, Early Golden, Morris Burton # 3. and Meader). You can get most of these larger fruits at England Orchard


    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 8:04PM
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This post was edited by bhawkins on Wed, Mar 26, 14 at 4:50

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 9:00PM
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