Cold-Weather Foraging for Wild, American Persimmons


| 12/4/2014 8:51:00 AM


Tags: edible wild plants, New York, Leda Meredith,

wild persimmons

Our native persimmon tree's luscious fruits are ready to harvest in late fall and early winter, long after most other fruit crops are done. Wild persimmons (Diospyros virginiana) are smaller than their commercially grown cousins, but just as delicious.

Identifying Wild Persimmons

American persimmon trees can grow as tall as 35 to 60 feet tall. The branches of mature trees tend to droop a bit. One of the most distinctive characteristics of older persimmon trees is their craggy, grey-black bark, which is sometimes described as reptilian. Its chunky pattern does look a bit like crocodile skin.

american persimmon tree bark

The 4- to 8-inch long leaves grow in an alternate arrangement, are roughly teardrop shaped. They are twice as long as wide with smooth edges. The leaves are glossy on their upper surfaces and turn a bright crimson or yellow in the fall.

There are male and female persimmon trees, and only the females bear fruit. The fruit looks like a small, bright orange plum between 3/4 to 2 inches in diameter. There are prominent leafy bracts attached to the stem end of the fruit.


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