The persimmon tree grows approximately 25 feet high. It offers an abundance of dark green leaves that measure 4 to 7 inches in length. Each fall the tree puts on a brilliant show of autumn colors that range from bright yellow to dark crimson. Once the leaves of the tree have fallen, there remains an abundance of persimmon fruits known as diospyros, which translates to "fruit of the gods." Each fruit is orange in appearance and measures 1 to 2 inches in diameter. The fruits ripen after the leaves of the tree drop in October.
The American persimmon is round and measures approximately 1 inch in diameter. The fruit from the Oriental persimmon tree measure 2 inches in diameter and are either round, oblong, cone-shaped or flat in appearance. Oriental persimmon varieties are widely available in grocery stores.
Astringent and Nonastringent Persimmons
Two types of persimmons are available for consumption. Astringent cultivars must be ripened completely before they are edible or they produce an extremely astringent taste that is unpleasant. The level of tannins (bitter plant polyphenols) within the fruit dictates the sweetness level. The fruit must feel soft (like jelly) before it yields a sweet taste. Nonastringent cultivars can be consumed when the fruit is rock-hard and still bear a sweet, pleasant taste.
Persimmon fruits average around 70 calories per fruit. The fruit is high in vitamin C, vitamin A, B complex vitamins, copper, manganese and potassium, according to the University of Florida. Persimmons contain no cholesterol or fat. The fruit can be consumed raw except for the seeds, dried or cooked. Astringent persimmon varieties are often dried to produce a very sweet flavor quickly.
Astringent persimmon cultivars are easily stored in a refrigerator for up to a month. Storage can be prolonged for up to six to eight months if the fruit is frozen. Store nonastringent persimmons at room temperature. Most nonastringent varieties will only last from a few days to a week.
Persimmon trees enjoy being planted in full sunlight. A soil pH between 6.5 to 7.5 is ideal. The tree requires adequate water to produce an abundant crop. The trees require less than 100 chilling hours to produce fruit. Persimmon trees require very little fertilizing. Fertilizing twice per year using a well-balanced fertilizer such as a 10-10-10 is adequate.