Persimmon





In the Southern, Western, and Middle States, some say as far north as

New York, grows the _persimmon_. Deliciously sweet and spicy when frost

has ripened it, very astringent until ripe. It is plentiful in Kentucky

and one of my earliest memories is of going to market with my mother in

the fall to buy persimmons. There I learned to avoid the fair, perfect

fruit, though to all appearances it was quite ripe, and to choose that

which looked bruised and broken.



The persimmon is about the size of a plum, but is flattened at the

poles. It grows close to the branch and its calyx is large. The color is

yellow generally flushed with red. Some writers describe it as juicy,

but I would not call it that; the flesh is more like custard or soft

jelly.



The tree usually varies in height from thirty to fifty feet, but in some

places is said to reach one hundred or more feet. The trunk is short and

the branches spreading. In the south it often forms a thicket in

uncultivated fields and along roadsides. The bark is dark brown or dark

gray, the surface is scaly and divided into plates. The leaves are

usually a narrow oval with smooth edges; when matured they are dark

green and glossy on the upper side, underneath pale and often downy. The

flower is a creamy-white or greenish-yellow.





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