From the Archives
of the Rare Fruit Council of Australia, inc.
by Zheli Wang
Persimmon Production in China
Scientific Name: Diospyros kaki
There are about 64 species of Diospyros L. native in China. Kaki or Japanese persimmon (Diospyros kaki
L.) is the main species cultured for edible fruit production in
northern China. The primary commercial persimmon production area is
about 66,000 ha along the Yellow River. Average annual production of
persimmon fruit is about 730,000 tonnes. Approximately 70 to 80 percent
of the crop is marketed as fresh fruits from September through
February. The remaining fruit are processed (dried, preserved, wine,
juice, in cake, etc.). The current (1994) market price in China is
about 25 U.S. cents for 1 kg fresh weight.
Climate is the major determining factor for persimmon production in
China. Temperature, spring frost, wind, and hail are the major climatic
factors affecting persimmon production. Kaki persimmon can grow where
the average annual temperature is between 10 to 22°C and grow best
between 13 to 19°C. Dormant persimmon trees can tolerate -16 to
-20°C without any damage. However, new shoots are very susceptible
to injury by spring frosts. The fruit needs 23 to 26°C for
developing and 13 to 20°C for maturing. High temperatures in the
fall will cause thicker skins and a lighter coloured fruit flesh with
more brown spots.
Rainfall. In non-irrigated land, persimmon
trees need more than 500 mm of annual precipitation. New roots will not
develop if the water content of the soil is less than 16 percent. Too
much rain and a lack of available sunlight during the growing season
will cause poor setting of fruits, bland flavour, and poor
differentiation of flower buds for next year.
Wind and Hail. Strong
wind can destroy the flowers and fruits. Tree defoliation by high winds
or hail will reduce the crop the following year.
cultivars are divided into two types - astringent and nonastringent.
Most Chinese cultivars belong to the astringent type. To remove
astringency, persimmon fruit are treated to transform soluble tannins
into insoluble ones ('after-ripening' or 'depuckering').
are about 800 cultivars in China, but some cultivars have different
names in different provinces. For example, Cai persimmon has more than
six names including Cap, He, Zhong Tai, Ou and Belt. Below are
descriptions of some of China's most important cultivars.
Cai persimmon grows in northern China, mainly north of Tai Hang and
south of Yan Mountain. When the fruit of Cai is exported it is under
the brand name "Beijing Honey" persimmon.
The tree is upright in
growth, with a round crown. Shoots are thick and expanded leaves are
oval in shape. Fruits are very large. averaging about 250 g each. The
largest fruit can be 500 g. The fruit has light yellow flesh with thick
skin. The flesh is sweet, juicy, and tender. The fruit ripens in late
October with a good keeping and shipping quality. Trees perform best in
deep fertile soil without pollinizer trees. Major production problems
for this cultivar include alternate bearing and susceptibility to wind
and hail damage. It is one of the hardiest persimmon cultivars in
Nin Xing (Cordate Persimmon).
Nin Xing is an important cultivar in Shanxi, Shaanxi, and Henan
Provinces. The tree is spreading with sparse branching. Precocious and
high yielding, Nin Xing produces large fruit (120 g). These fruits are
marketed both in the fresh and dried state (100 kg fresh fruit can be
processed to 40 kg of dried fruit). The fruit ripens in early October
and has an orange-red flesh with a sweet juicy flavour. The tree is
quite resistant to flooding, and seems to grow better than other
cultivars in high rainfall regions. It is difficult to solidify the
soluble tannin in fresh fruit.
July. July is grown in Shaanxi and
Henan Provinces. The tree has medium vigour with dark green leaves. The
fruit is large (180 g) with a flat shape and a pointed top. It is
thin-skinned, juicy, sweet, and tender. It is harvested in late August.
Fruits are too soft to store and transport. The fruit is only sold in
Board produces large flat fruits with four lobes. Fruit ripens in
August and is easily after-ripened. Fruit can be eaten in the crisp
Huo Guan (Round Persimmon). Huo Guan produces small seedless fruit with smooth red skin and red flesh. Yields are high and fruit store and transport well.
Wu Huan (Five-Lobe Persimmon).
Wu Huan always produces two kinds of fruits on one tree. Large fruits
come from imperfect flowers and small fruits come from perfect flowers.
This cultivar produces high yields of medium-size fruit with five lobes.
Zhe Jia Hong (Home Persimmon).
Zhe Jia Hong is characterized by high yields, early maturity of fruit,
and ease of after-ripening. The medium-size (95 g) fruit with
red-orange flesh is eaten in a soft state.
Two Most Hardy Cultivars.
Denglong (Lantern) persimmon and Huoguantou persimmon are the most cold
hardy cultivars grown in Shanxi. Shoots of these cultivars can stand a
short time (12 hours) of 17°C without injury.
on an article in the Northern Nut Growers Association 1994 Annual
Report, and reprinted in the WANATCA Yearbook 20, 1996. Zheli Wang is
Director/Pomologist of the Center for Forestry Science].
Japanese Persimmon Page