Persimmons are naturally disease-resistant trees that are hardy enough to grow in a variety of climate conditions. They are named after the ancient Greek word for "the fruit of the gods." They are harvested for their fruits, which are high in glucose and possess various medicinal and chemical uses. They are slow growing trees, often planted for their aesthetically pleasing appearance, but won't flower until well into the months of spring each year.
These small fruit trees are native to North America and are some of the easiest to grow. The most common variety is the rojo brilliante, which has been specifically bred for heavy fruit production. These trees rarely succumb to disease or weather damage based on the cold.
Persimmons are unique in that they do not need a pollinator and will still produce fruit within the second year after planting. Their fruits are crunchy in texture and sweet in taste, closely resembling Asian pears. They are used in the creation of jellies, jams and many desserts.
Persimmon trees are popular in the southern states of the United States but are easier to grow in the northern climates. The trees are considered a staple for first-time homeowners for their disease-resistant vigor; they are also prolific and inexpensive.
The disease-resistant vigor in persimmon trees can be encouraged by choosing healthy nursery stock and planting it in well-drained areas. Trees need constant watering the first year to help stimulate a strong root system after planting. Gardeners often apply high-phosphorus fertilizers to help encourage this production. Always prune away broken or damaged branches each year to keep trees free from fungal infestations that can possibly take root.
The tannins within the tree that provide its disease resistance are also powerful healers within humans. Thomas S. C. Li, in his book "Vegetables and Fruits: Nutritional and Therapeutic Values," states that the unripened fruits are known for containing the anti-tumor compound betulinic acid, as well as coagulum that can neutralize light stomach acids. Horse owners should be careful, for horses can quickly overindulge in persimmons, eventually making them ill.