From the Archives of the Rare Fruit Council of Australia, inc.
by Zheli Wang

Seasons in Australia are opposite to those in the US.  Summer is Dec. Jan. Feb. Autumn is Mar. Apr. May. Winter is June July Aug. Spring is Sept. Oct. Nov.

Persimmon Production in China

Scientific Name: Diospyros kaki
Family: Ebenaceae

 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.

Climatic Adaptation

Temperature. 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.
Persimmon Cultivars
Persimmon 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').

There 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. 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 northern China.

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 local markets.

Board. Board produces large flat fruits with four lobes. Fruit ripens in August and is easily after-ripened. Fruit can be eaten in the crisp state.

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.

[Based 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].

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Wang, Zheli. "Persimmon Production in China." Archives of the Rare Fruit Council of Australia. Center for Forestry Science and Technology Luoning Forestry Bureau, Henan Province, China. May 1997. Web. 25 Dec. 2016.

Published 25 Dec. 2015 LR
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