Saijo Oriental Persimmon

frances_in_nj(z6 NJ)October 18, 2013

Hi, I am interested in buying a Saijo Oriental persimmon. The Stark catalog lists it as self-fertile and hardy to zone 6 (I think I'm zone 6b, in central NJ). I'm really interested in it as an ornamental tree, more than for the fruit, although the fruit would be nice too. I'm wondering if anybody can tell me about this tree. How big does it get for you? Stark says 15-20' tall; is this right, and how wide? Do you think it would get that big in zone 6 (which I guess is its northern-most limit)? What are the spring flowers like? Is the fall foliage beautiful red? Any other thoughts or comments would be most appreciated - and also, is Stark a good source, or are there better ones? Thanks so much!

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Tony(Zone 5. Omaha, Nebraska)


Saijo, "the very best one" is a medium-size fruit, 1/3 lb, oblong conical, four-sided with deep grooves and orange skin. Pollination is constant (self-fertile). Fruit becomes very soft after astringency disappears. Mature height 20 ft and spread 10ft. Cold hardy to zone 6 (-10F).

Starkbros is a decent nursery and has a good customer service (if your tree died, they will replace it). Here are other persimmons if Saijo does not work out for you.

Fuyu (fuyugaki means "winter persimmon") is a large ½ lb round, flat fruit that ripens to a deep red. It is of excellent flavor and long shelf life. The tree is vigorous and spreading with no male flowers, but some parthenocarpic ability. Pollination assures good fruit set. Unfortunately, several varieties have been sold as Fuyu or Fuyugaki with fruit of varying quality. The real Fuyu is incompatible with D. lotus rootstock. This is the most planted variety in Japan and the one that holds the most commercial promise here.

Jiro is an old cultivar. The fruit is slightly larger than Fuyu, oblate and characteristically segmented by eight longitudinal grooves, four of which are more prominent and pass from the fruit apex to calyx. This variety is a pollination constant. The skin is yellow-crimson, sometimes uneven; the flesh is of excellent quality.

Ichikikeijiro is an early maturing bud mutation of the Jiro with excellent fruit quality. The tree vigor is weak, growth habit is dwarf and spreading with medium fruit set and only female flowers are produced. Fruit stores well so it is a promising commercial cultivar.

Honagosho ("flower of the Imperial Palace") is an excellent old variety, medium, yellow fruit 1/3 lb of excellent flavor and good storage which ripens late. The tree is vigorous and upright and has some male flowers so it can be used for pollination.

Izu is a seedling of Fuyu x Okugosho. Fruit is medium size 1/3 lb, oblate, mottled orange red skin and pale orange flesh. Pollination constant. Low yield.

Suruga. Seedling of Hanagosho x Okugosho, the fruit is large ½ lb, orange-red, very sweet and even better than the Fuyu with a long shelf life. The tree is vigorous, upright with good fruit set and produces only female flowers.

Shogatsu is a large, sweet fruit, ripening to deep orange-red. The tree is medium size and spreading and produces many male flowers. Fruit set is medium. Quality is not as good as other varieties. It is an excellent pollinator.

Hanafuyu, "Winter flower", obliquely rounded, large ½ lb sweet, juicy, reddish-orange color fruit. Tree is dwarf.


Sheng. Similar to the Hanagosho but smaller, dwarf tree size.

Tanenashi is an early variety introduced in the USA. It is the most common variety available in Florida. The fruit is seedless, conical and of excellent taste.

Hira-tanenashi, "flat seedless", the fruit is large, flat, sweet, with four sides and four shallow grooves and the skin is tough, glossy, orange-red, the flesh is pale yellow orange with poor shelf life. It is the second most popular in Japan. Pollination is constant. Very cold hardy (fully dormant could withstand up to -40F).

Great Wall is a very early ripening Chinese variety with a small, very sweet fruit discovered by explorer J. Russell Smith. The tree is cold-hardy.

Glombo is a giant, conical fruit, 1 lb, of excellent taste. The tree is very productive.

Yamato Hykume is an elongated, conical, pretty fruit. The flesh turns chocolate with pollination.

Okugosho is medium-sized, round and orange with inconsistent astringency loss.

Homestead is a small, conical, orange-red fruit with good taste. The tree is a good and consistent bearer.
Hachiya is the most popular California persimmon. The fruit is large, conical and orange-red. The tree is spreading.

Galley is an excellent pollinator. The fruit is small, conical and of fair quality.

Korean is medium-sized, flat, orange and sweet. The tree is productive and cold hardy.

Kung-Sun-Ban or Kyungsun-Ban-Si is similar to the Korean and is a showy tree.

Peiping is similar to the Korean, but the tree is dwarf and fruit smaller.

Tamopan is a large fruit shaped like the acorn cap on the top end. The tree is very ornamental. The fruit has fair flavor.

Giant Tamopan is a very large tamopan(1 lb) bred by Dr. R.T. Dunstan using colchicine.

Smith's Best is a compact, densely-branched, small prolific tree found on the farm of J. Russell Smith who was the first to popularize the persimmons. The fruit is small-to-medium and of high quality, chocolate-colored flesh.

Tecumseh is small-to-medium and of excellent quality.
San Pedro is deep orange, oblate fruit of excellent quality.


    Bookmark   October 19, 2013 at 12:00AM
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bennylafleur(6 E. Tn.)

Tony, I had a friend in Louisiana with a Saijo that was at least 20' wide, probably more. I am not sure how wide they would get in Zone 6, mine here in Tn. is close to 12'.


    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 1:49AM
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Saijo grows into a fairly large tree and could in your climate grow to 20 feet x 20 feet in about 12 years in a Christmas tree type configuration. It's a pretty tree but would not be my first choice for an ornamental. The variety Kyung Sun Bansi is of similar size but has a more rounded shape and denser leaf configuration making it one of the most attractive kakis. The fruit is larger and IMO tastier. The most ornamental Kaki though is Great Wall. It does seem to matter which nursery grafted the tree because I had given my sister, who lives in central NJ, one about twelve years ago from Just Fruits and Exotics that has since grown into a big ole tree, whereas I have one from Edible Landscaping that's older but only about 9 or 10 feet tall with Christmas tree configuration, very dense shiny foliage and excellent ornamental value on into December.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 10:35AM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

Thanks for the reviews and listings. i too want to add one or two a few years from now.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 10:46AM
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