In the 21st century, these trees tend to be found predominantly in the southeast United States, though there was a time when they were common as far north as New York and Pennsylvania, and west to Texas. Hardy from zones 5-9, and experimental in zone 4. American Persimmon are some of the most adaptable fruit trees around. Trees may be male or female, so we recommend planting several for pollination and fruit production. The fruit is a little hard to describe; sweet vanilla caramel with hints of aromatic citrus. They’re some of the tastiest fruit in the world. And best of all, they ripen in October-December when most other fruit in our climate has long since fallen from the trees. Some fruits can hang on until February. They’re quite soft when ripe, so they don’t have a very long shelf life, which makes them perfect for preservation and fermentation projects such as jams, beer, wine, and mead, or making some of the most delicious raw vinegar we’ve tasted.
Typically fruit production begins around 5-7 years, or earlier with grafted cultivars. We select our seed from one of the most genetically diverse collections in the United States. Our persimmons are all from grafted (lost) named varieties, grown and developed by John W. Hershey through the early 20th century. We can’t say exactly what the fruit from our seedlings will look like, but we would bet that it’ll be dang good.
Persimmon trees are also notable for their extremely hard, dense, rot resistant wood. As a member of the Ebony family, they offer a sustainable alternative for traditional Ebony wood. Often, the ebony used in fine woodworking comes from endangered trees in fragile tropical ecosystems, and is extremely expensive due to its status as an endangered wood, coupled with rising shipping costs. We would love to see more luthiers and other fine woodworkers turning to American Persimmon as a viable replacement for imported ebony before it happens out of sheer necessity.