[NAFEX] Persimmon answer

Jwlehman at aol.com Jwlehman at aol.com
Sat Apr 9 08:56:13 EDT 2005

Mark wrote: 
I live in West-Central Iowa (the northern tip of zone 5), near the city of 
Atlantic.   I have a decent microclimate with good air drainage and a sheltered 
spot on the South side of my barn.

Any specific cultivars that would be recommended for this area?   Grafted vs. 
non-grafted seedlings?   Do I need 2 cultivars for pollination?

Hello Mark,

The American persimmon is dioecious and some parthenocarpic. Therefore some 
will bear seedless fruit w/o a pollinator. But generally you must have a 
pollinator and even in some cases a parthenocarpic variety will bear more fruit with 
a pollinator than w/o, but seeded. 

There is great genetic diversity within them. To be sure of harvesting the 
best fruit you will need to either graft your seedlings or purchase grafted 
named cultivars. In your area I'd recommend early fruiting named cultivars. Two 
early ones are Juhl and Early Golden with Juhl being the earliest one. Juhl is 
large, sweet, dull orange in color and pulps easily.  The drawback with Juhl is 
tannins in the pulp. These tannins appear as black specks but don't seem to 
effect the taste or performance in cooked products. It makes the pulp look 
dirty. This also occurs in some kaki persimmons.  

Two other varieties that should perform well in your area are Elmo (A-118) & 
Dollywood (D-128) although not necessarily early, ripening after Juhl. Another 
James Claypool selection is H-118 which is a daughter of Juhl, but with 
improved color and clearness of pulp and just as early or earlier.  

FYI, James Claypool is a prolific breeder of persimmon at St. Elmo, IL. The 
alphanumeric numbers are row and tree in his original testing orchard. I can 
supply scion wood. 

Jerry Lehman

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