Kew today - Chinese persimmon

Come to Kew Gardens and see the glorious orange fruits of the Chinese persimmon

08 Jan 2010

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Orange fruits of the Chinese persimmon (Diospyros kaki)

Fruits of the Chinese persimmon (Diospyros kaki). (Image: RBG Kew)

Situated near the Ice House, one of Kew's Chinese persimmons is now covered in these glorious orange fruits, lit up by the winter sun. This tree is in fact a Champion Tree, which means it is the tallest or most massive example of its kind in this country. There are several other species of Diospyros at Kew, notably Diospyros lotus and Diospyros kaki var. lycopersicon, both of which fruit abundantly and can be found between King William's Temple and the Temperate House.

 

Chinese persimmon


Like the gingko, one of these trees survived the 1945 Nagasaki atomic bomb.

Fruits of the Chinese persimmon
Fruits of the Chinese persimmon

The Chinese persimmon (Diospyros kaki) is native to China, Japan and Korea. It has long been cultivated in the East for its tasty fruit, often called Sharon or Kaki fruits. Its glossy dark green leaves turn wonderful shades of orange, red and purple in the autumn, with the fruit appearing in late summer, and ripening after the leaves fall. The fruit is extremely astringent until it ripens and becomes soft, and can be harvested from the tree immediately following a hard frost, which jumpstarts the bletting process and speeds decay.


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