Diospyros Buxifolia Descriptive Essay

This article is about the edible fruit. For other uses, see Persimmon (disambiguation).

Persimmons// are the edible fruit of a number of species of trees in the genus Diospyros. Diospyros is in the family Ebenaceae. The most widely cultivated species is the Asian persimmon, Diospyros kaki. In color the ripe fruit of the cultivated strains range from light yellow-orange to dark red-orange depending on the species and variety. They similarly vary in size from 1.5 to 9 cm (0.5 to 4 in) in diameter, and in shape the varieties may be spherical, acorn-, or pumpkin-shaped.[1] The calyx generally remains attached to the fruit after harvesting, but becomes easy to remove once the fruit is ripe. The ripe fruit has a high glucose content. The protein content is low, but it has a balanced protein profile. Persimmon fruits have been put to various medicinal and chemical uses.

Like the tomato, persimmons are not popularly considered to be berries, but in terms of botanicalmorphology the fruit is in fact a berry.

Contents

Names and etymology[edit]

The word Diospyros comes from the ancient Greek words "dios" (διός) and "pyros" (πυρος). In context, this means more or less "divine fruit", though its literal meaning is closer to "Wheat of Zeus".[2][3] It is, however, sufficiently confusing to have given rise to some curious interpretations, such as "God's pear" and "Jove's fire". The Modern Greek name for the fruit is λωτός (lotos) which leads modern Greeks to the assumption that this is the lotus referred to in Homer's Odyssey.

The word persimmon itself is derived from putchamin, pasiminan, or pessamin, from Powhatan, an Algonquian language of the eastern United States, meaning "a dry fruit".[4]

Select species[edit]

Main article: Diospyros

While there are many species of Diospyros that bear fruit inedible to humans, the following are those that bear edible fruit:

Diospyros kaki (Asian persimmon, Japanese persimmon)[edit]

Diospyros kaki is native to China.[5] It is deciduous, with broad, stiff leaves and is known as the shizi (柿子 in Chinese), and also as the Japanese Persimmon or kaki (柿) in Japanese. It is the most widely cultivated species. Its fruits are sweet, and slightly tangy with a soft to occasionally fibrous texture. Cultivation of the fruit extended first to other parts of east Asia, India and Pakistan, and was later introduced to California and southern Europe in the 1800s, to Brazil in the 1890s,[6] and numerous cultivars have been selected. It is edible in its crisp firm state, but has its best flavor when allowed to rest and soften slightly after harvest. The Japanese cultivar 'Hachiya' is widely grown. The fruit has a high tannin content which makes the immature fruit astringent and bitter. The tannin levels are reduced as the fruit matures. Persimmons like 'Hachiya' must be completely ripened before consumption. When ripe, this fruit comprises thick pulpy jelly encased in a waxy thin skinned shell.

"Sharon fruit" (named after the Sharon plain in Israel) is the marketing name for the Israeli-bred cultivar 'Triumph'.[7] As with all pollination-variant-astringent persimmons, the fruit are ripened off the tree by exposing them to carbon dioxide. The "sharon fruit" has no core, is seedless, particularly sweet, and can be eaten whole.[7]

Diospyros lotus (date-plum)[edit]

Date-plum (Diospyros lotus) is native to southwest Asia and southeast Europe. It was known to the ancient Greeks as "the fruit of the gods", or often referred to as "nature's candy" i.e. Dios pyros (lit. "the wheat of Zeus"), hence the scientific name of the genus. Its English name probably derives from PersianKhormaloo خرمالو literally "date-plum", referring to the taste of this fruit which is reminiscent of both plums and dates. This species is one candidate for the lotus mentioned in the Odyssey: it was so delicious that those who ate it forgot about returning home and wanted to stay and eat lotus with the lotus-eaters.[8]

Diospyros virginiana (American persimmon)[edit]

American persimmon (Diospyros virginiana) is native to the eastern United States and is higher in nutrients like vitamin C, calcium

Nanyo City, Yamagata, Japan. October 2005.

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