Thursday, November 12, 2009


The persimmon (Diospyros virginiana) is native to the Southeastern United States. It's in the Ebony family and true to its family name, it has very dark (and very hard) wood. Persimmon wood has been used in golf clubs, bowling pins, and billiard cues.

The mature bark is distinctive; it's cracked into square plates.

But the most distinctive feature of the persimmon is the fruit. It looks like a small orange tomato with a large persistent calyx. The fruit is edible, but if eaten before ripe, can taste uncomfortably chalky. Usually it's ready to eat after a frost.

In "The Historie of Travaile into Virginia Britannia" (1612), William Strachey wrote of the fruit:

     They have a plomb which they call pessemmins, like to a
     medler, in England, but of a deeper tawnie cullour; they grow on
     a most high tree. When they are not fully ripe, they are harsh
     and choakie, and furre in a man's mouth like allam, howbeit,
     being fully ripe, yt is a reasonable pleasant fruict, somewhat
     lushious. I have seene our people put them into their baked and
     sodden puddings; there be whose tast allowes them to be as
     pretious as the English apricock; I confesse it is a good kind of
     horse plomb.

1 comment:

  1. "Chalky" is not the word for it. Imagine what a urinal cake might taste like, or a piece of candy made with Comet cleansing powder. The most shocking, unexpected taste.