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nafex - Re: [nafex] Yates persimmon update

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  • From: Jerry Lehman <>
  • To: mailing list at ibiblio - Northamerican Allied Fruit Experimenters <>
  • Subject: Re: [nafex] Yates persimmon update
  • Date: Mon, 21 Sep 2015 07:35:28 -0400

Good Morning Lucky and Betsy,

There is no hard dividing line between the range of 60 and 90 chromosome race of persimmon. I feel sure that North of the Ohio River you will find some sixties and South you will find some nineties. And we are finding that many of the 90 chromosome persimmons will set seedless fruit without a 90 C pollinator. Also some varieties of the 90 C will set some seedless fruit when there is ample 90 C pollen available. Mohler seedless is an example of a variety setting many seedless fruits in the presence of ample pollination. The Meader persimmon with 90 C pollen available will set fully seeded fruit, with only 60 C pollen available will set seedless fruit and if the flowers are bagged preventing pollen from any plant reaching the pistols will not set fruit at all. When this was discovered Prof. Meader questioned if chestnut pollen could possibly be triggering the parthenocarpic characteristic of the Meader persimmon because in his area his chestnut catkins dehist pollen at the same time. I have 4 named pistillate varieties of 60 C persimmon here with no 60 C males nearby. Three of the 4 drop may be 90% of the fruit without ripening while the 4th, Cliff England's "SFES" variety matures fruit with empty seed cases and occasionally a seed without fully developed cotyledon flesh. Confusing? Oh, and hybridizing the 60 C and 90 C theoretically is not possible because 15 chromosomes remain unpaired.

Betsy, I believe the answer to your question regarding the Yates/Juhl variety is the 1st 3 years no 90 chromosome pollen reached the tree so it was seedless. The 4th year there was ample pollen available and it basically set seeded fruit. The persimmon flower consists of 4 stigma and style with 2 eggs at the base of each style providing for a possible fully seeded fruit with 8 seeds and one pollen grain is required for each seed. Therefore theoretically the number of seeds is heavily dependent upon the amount of pollen that reaches the flower which can vary year to year depending on weather conditions.

Early Golden will occasionally bear male flowers. I emphasize occasionally. Mr. Claypool used to refer to them as the rare male flower. I have early Golden, Killen, and Garretson, all 3 here, and only once have ever seen male flowers on my Killen, never on early Golden nor Garretson. But I confess I have not eagerly sought male flowers every year. Back in the early nineties while Claypool was still actively breeding using what I call female pollen I went over to observe and learn his techniques. In one Killen tree was one current year growth branch and one current year growth branch on early Golden with male flowers and these were on trees that he was using ladders to get up to the branches maybe 15 feet in the air. And these were the sum total of sport branches on 2 very mature trees. In spite of some reports there is nowhere near enough male flowers to pollinate a tree. Therefore I do not believe that your pruning was the cause for sudden setting of nearly seedless fruit. My thought is, some conditions such as whether reduced the amount of pollen available to the flowers, reducing the seed count from 6 to 1.

When Mr. Claypool found a sport bearing staminate flowers he would tie a ribbon to it, marking it. The following year when that sport would produce additional branches he would watch and if a branched produce pistillate flowers he would cut that branch off. His attempts to produce limbs bearing only male flowers naturally failed. He did have some small branchlets with maybe 3 years growth producing only male flowers but it was achieved by pruning not by natural selection. In other words the sport that produced male flowers in 2nd year's growth would revert back to pistillate flowers. They acted like a chimera, that is a mixture of cells containing different chromosomes or different recombination of genes.

A side note of possible interest: Last spring Doug Fell found one small 8 inch branch on his early Golden with male flowers, the 1st he had ever seen. The 1st one that I have seen in maybe 5 years. Doug cut it from the tree and I made 4 Greenwood grafts of that piece and 3 were successful. When they flower will they produce staminate flowers? That remains to be seen but Mr. Claypool reported that when he and Prof. JC McDaniel grafted limbs producing male flowers they reverted to producing pistillate flowers. And yes when male flowers are produced on pistillate trees they are single branches that I believe are sport limbs.

Jerry Lehman

On 9/20/2015 9:15 PM, Louis Pittman wrote:

I'm 'supposed' to be in 60-chromosome land, too... supposedly, the Ohio
River is the 'dividing line' between 90-C and 60-C, and I'm over 100 miles
south of the Ohio. All my 90-C females have produced mostly seeded fruit,
for years... some less seedy than others, and occasionally some seedless
Yes, I have Garretson and Early Golden and some of the Claypools, so maybe
they're pushing male flowers, but I was getting seeded fruits when all I
had were a couple of non-EG heritage females.


On Sun, Sep 20, 2015 at 1:47 PM, Elizabeth<> wrote:
Hi folks,
I previously posted in 2014 that I was perplexed why my 'Yates' persimmon
contained seeds for the first time since I planted it. The tree has been
bearing for about 4 years total. I live in an area with only 60 chromosome
natives. There are no other 90 chromosome trees nearby (to my knowledge)
except in my orchard. In 2014 these consisted of 3 selected varieties of
grafted female kakis, 2 of which were old enough to bloom, and the Yates.

Last year each Yates fruit contained 5 - 6 fully formed seeds. This year,
they contain an average of about 1 seed per fruit. Most fruits are
seedless, some have had up to 3 seeds per fruit.

What has changed: I performed winter pruning this spring so it is possible
that I pruned off a branch on a tree that had previously produced male
flowers. I lost my Wase Fuyu during our unusually cold winter so it did not
produce flowers this spring. The third kaki produced blooms for the first
time in 2015.

What I discovered: I evaluated each surviving persimmon tree for male
flowers this spring. I detected none. Although I was looking for sports, so
if I saw a branch covered with female flowers, I did not examine each
flower on the branch, it is possible that I missed individual male flowers
(if that occurs).

I propagated every seed from the 2014 Yates crop. I guess I will find out
what the 2014 pollinizer was in 8 years or so!

Betsy Hilborn

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