Texas Native Fruit & Nut Trees
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See Texas Agrilife Persimmons

Persimmon

Persimmon trees are small, easy to grow, and adapted to most of Texas. The tree, its leaves, and its fruit don’t have to be sprayed because they have no serious insect or disease problems. In the fall, when few fruit crops are ripe, the persimmon produces fruit that is attractive and delicious. Persimmons are rich in vitamin A and have more vitamin C than citrus fruit. They are considered a delicacy in the Orient. The wood, which is very hard, is prized by woodworkers and is used to make golf clubs. Mature trees can reach 40 feet high; some remain as shrubs less than 10 feet tall.

There are two types of persimmon fruit: astringent and non-astringent. The acorn shaped Hachiya is an example of the astringent type and must be eaten when it is soft or else it is far from tasty. The non-astringent type, like Fuyu, can be eaten when they are still firm because they do not contain the high levels of tannic acid the astringent types do. Beautiful tree in late fall when fruit hangs on trees after leaves have fallen. Striking, dark green leaves turn shades of yellow, orange, and red. The trees are two years old and should begin fruiting in their 3rd year. Be careful not to overwater the tree or it could delay its leafing out. On standard rootstock (Diospyros lotus seedling). By pruning you can keep your tree at any height.

When planting Persimmons it is important to remember that persimmons are not water loving plants. After the tree is planted it should be watered in with a good soaking to remove air pockets in the soil and then left alone. The plant shouldn’t be watered again until the buds start to break. Excessive watering is the primary cause of failure in bare root Persimmons. They will benefit from periodic wetting of the trunk, however, to help against desiccation.

Wild varieties

The common American persimmon, Diospyros virginiana, grows wild in the South and reaches as far west as the Colorado River in Texas. American persimmon groves are common in abandoned pastures and along fence rows (Fig. 1). Unlike the cultivated persimmon, the wild persimmon varieties are small and very astringent until completely ripe. They are usually ripe after the first frost and all the leaves have fallen from the tree, though even then some fruit can still be very astringent.

The common American persimmon makes excellent rootstock and is graft compatible for cultivated Oriental persimmons in the southern United States and Texas.

Texas persimmon

Diospyros texana, is found in northern Mexico and Central and West Texas; it is especially abundant in the Edwards Plateau area. The tree has small, purple fruit and is known for its peeling bark, which reveals shades of white, gray, and even pink on the trunk. It is not graft compatible with American or Oriental persimmons.

Oriental persimmon,

Diospyrus kaki, was introduced into the United States in the mid-1800s from its native China and Japan (Fig. 2). It is has been an important fruit crop in each of those countries for hundreds of years. The fruit is eaten fresh, dried or cooked. In northern China, some valleys grow only Oriental persimmons. On the main island of Japan, persimmon trees are found in every village, along the roadsides, and around farmers’ cottages.

Persimmon Varieties

EUREKA

We at Womack find it the most vigorous producer and the best in quality. Fruit is bright orange and as large around as tea cups. Starts bearing about the third year. They begin to ripen in October and continue late in December. Tree is semi-dwarf.

‘Jiro’, Fuyu Persimmon

From Drew Demler’s Fruit Tree list (Central Texas): Japanese Persimmon: Fuyu is the best non-astringent type

jiri-fuyu-persimmonOriental. Zones: 7-9 Chill hours: 200 Harvest: October 15 – December 1 Medium sized fruit, deep red-orange skin with pale orange flesh. A sweet, mild flavor. Low chill hours, good choice for milder climates. Still hard when ripe, Jiro is the most popular non-astringent cultivar in California. Also call the Apple Persimmon because it’s so good you can eat it like an apple. Attractive tree is practically pest free and really easy to take care of, even in a lawn. Pollination: Self-fruitful. GrowOrganic, Womack, BobWells

Giant Fuyu – Gosho

From Drew Demler’s Fruit Tree list (Central Texas): Japanese Persimmon: Fuyu is the best non-astringent type

One of the deepest red colors of any persimmon when fully ripe, Gosho’s large fruit are roundish with flattened ends. Flesh is non-astringent, supple, juicy and even sweeter than regular Fuyu. The tree somewhat dwarf, disease resistant, and bears regularly. Ripens in late October. Zones 8-11 JohnsonNursery

Hachiya Persimmon Tree

Zones: 7-9 Chill hours: 200 Harvest: November 15 – December 10  Large, acorn-shaped fruit with deep red-orange skin and deep orange flesh. Sweet, flavorful, astringent until soft-ripe. The ripe fruit feels like holding a bag of jelly and the skin is translucent. A ripe Hachiya is sweeter than Fuyu. Low chill hours, good choice for milder climates. The mature fruit can be left out in boxes at room temperature to ripen. Whole, ripened fruit can be frozen to be used later. It can also be dried while it is still firm and it will become sweet during the dehydration process. The tree is productive and highly ornamental with beautiful glossy green foliage in the summer and red, orange, and yellow fall foliage in the fall. A mature standard sized persimmon tree can bear 330 to 660 lb of fruit in a season. Fruit requires hot summers for ripening. A good variety for drying and pickling. GrowOrganic, Bob Wells

TANI NASHI

tani-nashi-persimmonLarge, cone shaped fruit. Early bearing. Dark yellow when ripe. Usually seedless. Makes a large tree. Ripens late September. Womack, Bob Wells

MATSUMOTO WASEFUYU

Non-astringent fruit which ripens about two weeks before Fuyu. http://www.womacknursery.com/persimmons.html

TAM-O-PAN/ Tamopan Japanese Persimmon

persimmontamopanOne of the largest persimmon fruit. Reddish orange fruit has a constriction near the stem end. Ripens in November.  http://www.womacknursery.com/persimmons.html, Bob Wells

SAIJO

Small, elongated, orange fruit. Good for drying which removes the astringency. Old Japanese variety. Heavy annual producer. Ripens 1st October. http://www.womacknursery.com/persimmons.html

GREAT WALL

A very sweet, flattened, orange fruit. One of the most cold hardy. An abundant producer. Ripens early. http://www.womacknursery.com/persimmons.html

 


Mulberries

Wild Mulberry

mulberry-wildTexas mulberry grows along creeks and in canyons in the western two thirds of the state, usually occurring in dry, well-drained areas. It is common on the white rock escarpment of Dallas County, where it grows as a small shrub from 6 to 12 feet. It is a smaller tree than red mulberry, averaging around 25 feet high, and the leaves and fruit are likewise smaller. Its leaves are exceedingly rough on both sides, whereas red mulberrys’ are rough only on the top. Texas mulberry is usually found growing on thin limestone soils, although it grows equally as well on igneous soils.

 

See Planting a Mulberry Orchard in the Dallas area.
White Mulberry is considered invasive in Texas.

Red Mulberry

Native

Black Mulberry

 

PawPaw (Custard Apple)

Only grows in deep acid soils near coast. Pawpaw is found in rich woods near streams in extreme East Texas and in northeast Texas along the Red River, but does not grow abundantly anywhere, usually found as single trees or in small groves.

 

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