Diospyros sp. is the persimmon. In the fall of the year the orange and round and seductively smooth skinned Japanese versions hit the supermarkets. Most people do not know what these are, so I am surprised that they sell at all. There are many varieties of this fruit. There is a native American persimmon (Diospyros virginiana) that is high in nutrients like vitamin C, calcium, iron and potassium. Tradition says that Americans cooked them in a pudding. There are two kinds of persimmon, those that are astringent before ripening and those that are not. Ours is the astringent version, and if you try to eat this fruit before it gets so soft you might think it has spoiled, it will make your mouth pucker tighter than a snare drum head.
This year, after a three year wait, we got our first real harvest. But we did not wait until they fell to the ground, which is how you are supposed to harvest them. We waited until they just started to get soft on the branch and then picked them off the tree to get them inside before the raccoons discovered this golden bounty. They took a full week to ripen inside and we checked them each and every day. I think that persimmons should be labeled the fruit of patience. Their texture is custardy like an overripe plum and their flavor is sweet and gentle.
Even more, the tree itself is a shining example of a fall ornamental and turns lovely shades of autumn and is one of my favorite decorative elements in the yard this time of year. Just look as these leaf photos I have taken the last two weeks. Oh, and regarding the title, botanically it IS a berry!
Below in the first photo it is competing with the wild maple on the right.