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Persimmons for Wildlife




The origin of Japanese persimmons was Japan where cultivars were hybridized for hundreds of years and introduced into America by Japanese immigrants; many who bought seeds with them to plant. The USDA also imported Japanese persimmon bud wood for experimental growing in Florida. The Japanese persimmon fruit varies greatly in size, color, shape, taste and productivity, and most commercial Japanese persimmon orchards contain grafted fruiting cultivars.


The Japanese persimmon fruit can range in size from a tiny cherry to a huge grapefruit size fruit. The custard-like inside of the Japanese persimmon is covered by a thin membrane skin with a sweet flavor when fully ripened. The Fuyu persimmon can be eaten favorably without that awful astringent bitterness before being fully ripe. The shape of the Japanese persimmon can be round, tear-drop, flattened, or oval. The excellent quality of Japanese Persimmon trees, not only makes for a perfect fruit for a backyard gardener, but the Japanese persimmon fruit is much sought after by game birds, songbirds, wildlife animals such as possum, raccoon, and deer, who have reported to been seen climbing trees to eat the ripe persimmons.


The native American Persimmon trees have always produced a very desirable fruit for wildlife animals and birds. Many scientists are engaged in hybridizing the native American persimmon on to the Japanese persimmon tree with a focus on producing a hybrid persimmon tree with the same excellent cold hardiness as that of the American persimmon. These experiments in persimmon inter-crosses and hybridization would also set a goal of stabilizing and improving the variable flavors and cold hardiness of the native American persimmon.