kawakami hybrid persimmon

Tony(Zone 5. Omaha, Nebraska)December 14, 2011

Has anyone successfully grown this hybrid and how cold hardy it is? I am very curious about this hybrid persimmon. It is suppose to be 1/2 American and 1/2 Japanese. The fruit size and shape of the Japanese variety but the flavor of the American persimmon.


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bonsaist(Z6/ Bethlehem, Pa)

I wasn't aware of a variety with this name. The only hybrids I know about are Russyanka, and Nikita's gift. Not much info available on this vareity... Where did you learn about it?

    Bookmark   December 15, 2011 at 5:51PM
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I would be interested to know more about this variety too. Not sure what you mean by "size and shape of the Japanese variety". Some Japanese persimmon can be as small as a wallnut, others can be as big heirloom tomato. The shape can also be round, acorn, egg, flat, etc.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2011 at 6:35PM
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alexander3_gw(6 Pennsylvania)

A Google search pulls up some references from the early 20th century, so it's been around quite awhile, certainly a lot longer than Rosseyanka and Nikita's Gift. I wonder why it has disappeared? I presume the size is on the large side, similar to the commonly found ones like Fuyu and Hachiya. You can see an old lithograph of Kawakami here:


Tony, let us know if you find a source for it.


Here is a link that might be useful: Kawakami chemolithograph

    Bookmark   December 15, 2011 at 7:24PM
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This is from the USDA yearbook 1908

The larger size and brighter color of the Japanese persimmons
have to some extent attracted the attention of southern fruit growers
away from the hardier though less conspicuous native species. In
recent years, however, a number of promising varieties of the more
widely distributed of our native species, Diospyros virginiana, have
been named and introduced. There has at the same time been a
general recognition of the desirability of growing hybrids of these
species in the hope of securing varieties hardier than the Japanese
and yielding larger and possibly less astringent fruits than the native
parent. One such appears to have resulted from an accidental cross
of the Yemon (synonym Among) on Josephine, on the grounds of
Prof. T. V. Munson, of Denison, Tex., about 1893. a Professor Mun-
son grew a large number of seedlings of Josephine from seeds of a
tree of that variety near which stood several trees of Yemon. From
among these he selected a number that showed thicker and more
pubescent twigs and larger leaves than their seed parent, resembling
in these respects the Japanese species. Some of these showed much
more strongly marked Japanese characteristics in tree and fruit than
does this one, which he named Kawakami in 1902, but he preferred
it to them because of its superior hardiness and vigor of growth as
well as its marked retention of the distinctive flavor of the Josephine,
which is considered superior to that of most of the Japanese varieties
known in this country.

Professor Munson propagated the variety for dissemination about
1903, 1904. Its behavior thus far warrants the belief that it is con-
siderably hardier than any of the Japanese varieties yet tested in this
country and likely to succeed through a wide geographic range.


Form roundish oblate, sometimes quadrangular; size medium to
large ; cavity regular, of medium size and depth, with gradual slope,

a Letters of T. V. Munson, October 12, 1908, and April 2, 1909.


covered with bloom; calyx small, segments reflexed; stem short,
stout; apical point, short, stout; surface moderately smooth; color
brownish yellow, covered with a bluish white bloom ; skin thin, ten-
der; seeds plump, broad, of medium size and number; flesh yellow -
i>h. translucent, with yellow veins, crisp, meaty, tender, moderately
juicy; flavor sweet and rich, with but slight astringency; quality
good to very good. Season medium to late, September 15 to Novem-
ber 1, in northern Texas. Tree more spreading and stocky 7 than
Josephine but less productive. It has thus far endured the winters
as far north as Farmingdale, 111., and is considered worthy of testing
throughout the native persimmon belt.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2011 at 10:06PM
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Tony(Zone 5. Omaha, Nebraska)

Hi Bass,

I was searching for some more American persimmon varieties and found the article on ehow, http://www.ehow.com/list-7701550-american-persimmon-varieties.html. Within this list, I saw this Kawakami hybrid persimmon dated back to 1900. I was supprised that no one mentioned this hybrid persimmon. We all known about the Russian Hybrids. I just want to know what happen to it? I would love to grow one if it is available on the market somewhere, ?USDA? to obtain the scionwood? I hope someone out there still have this live hybrid.


    Bookmark   December 15, 2011 at 11:49PM
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The TV Munson of outstanding fame in grape breeding.

He must have been one interesting guy with such an eye on multiple crops.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2011 at 11:11AM
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Tony(Zone 5. Omaha, Nebraska)

Just spoke with Cliff England today. He and his friend a breeder from Louisiana have been searching for this hybrid the last 10 years with no luck. Cliff is working on another Hybrid call "Rosdale Red". A cross of a male F1-Rossyanka with a Honan Red. He is in the process of test the cold hardiness of this hybrid. In addition, he has a new variety call "Wonderful" which is a open pollination of yates and the fruit is very good tasting and the size is bigger then Prok and has no speck of tanin. He told me that he will start grafting in the spring of 2012 and have it ready for sale in the fall of 2012. Good news.


    Bookmark   December 16, 2011 at 4:12PM
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bonsaist(Z6/ Bethlehem, Pa)

That's for bringing this name up. I did some research and it seems that the last mention of this variety was in 1914. Here's a clip from a newsletter about someone who's been growing it.

Here is a link that might be useful: kawakami

    Bookmark   December 17, 2011 at 5:12AM
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It would not be easy but not impossible to find out where that fellow in Missouri lived in 1914. Can Asian persimmons live that long? American persimmons might.

The other thing would be to check which state and federal experiment stations issued bulletins on persimmons around then and inquire of them if old experimental stands still exist. These exist in some other woody crops. I'm searching for what is believed to be a natural hybrid of muscadine and a close more-southern grape relative (named, ironically, after Munson: Vitis munsoniana or Vitis rotundafolia var. munsoniana). It too was popular enough to be named and distributed, though the selection name escapes me at the moment.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2011 at 8:43AM
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bhawkins(8A Dallas)

Munson's grape plantings were an hour north of me, & a university says it still has 20 varieties of his grapes growing. Maybe I'll drive up, see if any persimmon's happen to be there

    Bookmark   December 17, 2011 at 2:26PM
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Tony(Zone 5. Omaha, Nebraska)

Jerry Lehman just emailed me that someone send him a Kawakami scionwood several years back and he grafted it and it took, but got froze the following year with extreme low temp. He lost the source for this scionwood.


    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 10:09AM
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bonsaist(Z6/ Bethlehem, Pa)

Tony, so there's hope someone still have it.
I contacted the lady in charge of the USDA persimmon collection and said that they don't have any record of it ever being in their collection and she's now interested in finding out who has it.


    Bookmark   December 22, 2011 at 1:37PM
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bonsaist(Z6/ Bethlehem, Pa)

I just spoke with Jerry Lehman over the phone, he said he made a mistake and it wasn't kawakami but a Kaki with a similar name that he obtained.
He doesn't believe kawakami was a true hybrid knowing the complications with breeding persimmon. He visited Yalta few months ago and saw the breeding process of different hybrids and how it's done in a lab and the different chromosomes.
He did say that there will be several new hybrids released from Yalta station in the next two years. Crosses were made from Nikitaskaya Bordovaya back crossed with Kaki which makes them F3 hybrids.
There is also a cross of D.Lotus and D. Kaki... which should be an interesting variety.


    Bookmark   December 22, 2011 at 2:18PM
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Tony(Zone 5. Omaha, Nebraska)


That is very good news for persimmon enthusiasts like us all. In couple of years we will have more hybrids. In, addition, I hope the person in charge of persimmon at the USDA can come up with the source for Kawakami, that will be awesome.


    Bookmark   December 22, 2011 at 3:30PM
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Crossing D.lotus and D.kaki? I don't think it can be done as D.lotus is diploid with 30 chromosomes and D.kaki is hexaploid with 90 chromosomes. Who would want to cross it anyway? Surely not Russians.
To make a F3 cross using F2 hybrid isn't particularly difficult...anyone can do it without a laboratory.
But it's a long distance run...growing up seedlings to a fruiting stage and selection. Still, I hope we will have more hybrids in a near future.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2011 at 4:00PM
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bonsaist(Z6/ Bethlehem, Pa)

Harbin, D.Lotus x D. Kaki cross was made somehow in the Ukraine. There must some out there with closer chromosomes to the Kaki. Per Jerry's description, it tasted good but not as good as a good Kaki. It can be used for breeding purposes.


    Bookmark   December 22, 2011 at 5:59PM
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alexander3_gw(6 Pennsylvania)

Perhaps they were able to induce polyploidy in D. lotus.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2011 at 11:25PM
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bhawkins(8A Dallas)

I drove up to munson's home, with my killer bichon frise as my companion. As You grape enthusiasts probably already know, the restored home is on about a half acre. Munson had 200 acres, but homes have built up around him, I'd guess about 1940-1950.

I didn't see any kaki's. I did see about 20 grape vines at the home. ALso a local university has about 90 of his grape varieties about 10 miles away.

I'll follow up with the people in charge of the house and see if they know Of any kaki's. Also I'll contact the university prof in charge of the vineyards. And next oct I could drive through the neighborhood looking for the fruit. Though after 110 years who knw what is still alive.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2011 at 5:54PM
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Tony(Zone 5. Omaha, Nebraska)


I am glad you have the chance to visit Pf. Munson's home. Too bad that there were no persimmons present. I hope this is not the end of this hybrid.


    Bookmark   December 24, 2011 at 7:23PM
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Tony, according to the link below (page 7) it may not be a true hybrid.


"Diospyros cv.Kawakami originated near Dennison, TX. It is thought to be a hybrid of D. virginiana x D. kaki.(Note: The female parent is always named first:) Some investigators consider it to be a large fruited American persimmon (McDaniel 1974 p 60)."

    Bookmark   December 25, 2011 at 2:26PM
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Tony(Zone 5. Omaha, Nebraska)

Is there anyway to find out if J.C. McDaniel (1974) is still living? He might know a living Kawakami persimmon.


    Bookmark   December 25, 2011 at 6:29PM
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McDaniel was a Univ. of Illinois horticulturist who in his time was a leading authority on American persimmons. He died about 30 years ago and unfortunately academia has since mostly ignored this fruit and furtherance been largely the work of amateur breeders and hobbyists. So you could inquire at the Univ of Illinois, but it doesn't appear that his work on American persimmons and hybrids has continued there.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2011 at 1:34AM
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drasaid(zone 8)

I just tasted a Texas black persimmon today, and it is good, althought the black color might be both an attraction and a deterrent (it stains like mad).

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 6:56PM
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