One of my favorite trees is the persimmon tree, especially in the fall season when the leaves turn a reddish orange color and are speckled with big blotches of black. Often the trees grow in groups, forming a more or less hedge row.
Old persimmon trees are usually not very big, usually 25- to 50-feet in height, with dark brown bark that is deeply furrowed and broken into small rectangular blocks. They have fairly large leaves, more or less oval in shape, with smooth edges.
Of course the golf ball-sized fruit is what attracts me to the tree. In October, it is ripe and the taste is delicious. Many animals love the ripened persimmons. Deer are really attracted to them, plus turkeys, quail, foxes, opossums and skunks to name a few. I have heard that persimmon pie is good, though I have never tasted one.
There is a mystery about these trees that few people have heard — there is a male tree and a female tree. The male tree, of course, does not bear any fruit. It forms small flowers about ½-inch long that are greenish white color. These flowers bear the pollen. The female flowers are about ¾-inch long and are a little bigger than the male flower.
As pollen forms in the male flower it is carried to the female tree by bees. These bees, carrying the male pollen, fly to the female tree and fertilize the female flower. Gradually over the summer months the small, green persimmon forms and grows.
Green persimmons are very astringent. If you have ever tasted one you know that it will make you “pucker up,” as the old saying goes.
I once heard of a bald headed man who rubbed a green persimmon on the top of his head. When asked if that would make his hair grow, he said, “no, but it will pull my sideburns up on top!” Ha, ha!!
You may have a Persimmon tree close by. Maybe one year it will bear fruit, then another year it bears none. I guess we could say that in the year it bore no fruit, then the bees just didn’t do their job.
I am especially worried about the new large hornets that have gotten into the western United States. They claim that these hornets can quickly and easily destroy a honeybee colony. Let us pray that these large insects can be destroyed before they can become established in the United States.