Health benefits of american persimmon (Diospyros virginiana)
What is American persimmon?
It is a dioecious tree up to 20 meters. Short trunk and very long and drooping branches. Leaves oblong, acute, long petiolated, hairy beneath. Pale yellow flowers appear in July.
Fruits between 2 and 6 cm in diameter varied in color, from yellow to bluish black. Very astringent to taste, it usually can only be eaten after having been exposed for a long time to mature to the cold. It is usually collected in late fall or early winter.
Being a dioecious tree (only male or female flowers in the same tree), we will need a tree with male flowers for the insects to pollinate them. Some female trees can produce fruit without the presence of male trees.
American persimmon uses
The American persimmon is grown mainly for the very astringent fruits . It is normally harvested in mid to late fall and must be subjected to cold for fruit to be eaten.
Once ripe, the fruit, very rich in vitamin C, is used to make syrups, puddings and sweets. Beer or wine can also be obtained from it.
American persimmon fruits are used in making breads and pastries. The dried seeds are employed as a coffee substitute.
The wood of this tree is dark, heavy, very hard and fine. It is widely used in the manufacture of golf clubs and lathe objects.
A drawing of American persimmon
American persimmon cultivation
Very cold tolerant once grown, it can withstand temperatures as low as -30 º C. Fits any type of soil, provided that the acidity is not too high and the soil is poorly drained. It prefers deep and loose moist soils,.
Although it can live in partial shade, it needs a sunny, warm and protected place to produce fruits.
Young samples need for a more shaded spot and and a higher humidity and hotter temperature.
You can reproduce it by seeds stratified to cold in the nursery. Seedlings arising from seeds will be transplanted into their final place in summer. It is necessary to protect them from cold for a couple of years. It can also be propagated from cuttings in summer or from layerings in spring.
American persimmon is often employed as a rootstock for Japanese persimmon (Diospyros kaki).
Medicinal properties of American persimmon
John Heinerman in his Encyclopedia of Fruits, vegetables and herbs is proposing a number of prescriptions with this tree:
- – To counteract the poisoning of shellfish, he proposes the following recipe: boil a pint of water, add a cup of unpeeled, ripe and chopped persimmon and half a tablespoon of horehound herb, fresh or minced. Once boiled, let it soak for 40 minutes. Strain and drink hot.
- – For sore throat caused by cold, flu, etc. he says that he juice of a ripe persimmon mixed with three and a half cups of warm water is an excellent gargle for sore throat caused by the common cold or flu. It ads that, in Thailand, the ripe fruits are used to get rid of intestinal parasites, especially worms.