Texas Persimmon

The native persimmons are starting to ripen. I was too late for this berry. Some bird got there first. I was hoping to gather enough to make some jelly. Or some ink for my husband’s fountain pen mania. Better luck next time! I did eat a couple that were ripe: they were pleasantly sweet but super sticky.

texas persimmon
Diospyros texana

Folklore

Persimmon seeds can be used to predict winter weather. If you open a seed you will find the shape of a knife, a spoon or a fork inside. This lore must not be entirely local:

a spoon brings mounds of snow (?)
a fork means fickle weather (cold one day, mild the next)
a knife means cutting winds

I don’t know if it was too early to consult the magic eight ball fruit but all the seeds I opened (haha 3) revealed a knife shape. Bad news. I will definitely check again later to see if the tree changes its mind/forecast.

texas persimmon 2
Diospyros texana

As an Ornamental

Texas persimmon is probably the ideal ornamental native tree/shrub for Austin.  It only grows to about 10 feet tall, prefers well drained & poor soils and is extremely drought tolerant. The white bark is pretty and will sometimes peel off to expose pink or grey patches. Diospyros texana has sweetly scented flowers that bloom in March or April. Only the female trees bear fruit. Weird fact: persimmon is related to the ebony tree of Africa and in very old specimens the heartwood is dark black and extremely dense.

In wild places it is usually found along slopes or the magical world of edges.

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14 thoughts on “Texas Persimmon

  1. So intriguing! I knew nothing of this plant at all (being imported to TX myself!) and will certainly want to learn more now that you’ve given me a good and enticing intro. Thanks! :D
    K

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    1. A pleasure. I am really having fun learning about these native plants and doing some local foraging. It is kind of amazing how much food surrounds us. And how tasty it is … =)

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  2. The birds always seem to know which plants to watch for delicious eats. They certainly have the advantage of constant access to sneak the best out from under our noses (or mouths?) so I’m glad you got at least a taste.

    That’s totally fascinating about the seed shapes. Do let us know if you spot any spoons…that’d be “end of the world as we know it” weather for Austin.

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    1. I bet people in OK get more spoons than we do! ha ha ha. I found out later that they don’t all ripen at the same time so that can make foraging for the berries a bit tricky. Plus, that area is one of one of those places I am nearly guaranteed to see a mockingbird so I really do have some serious competition. All of which means I need to tuck my own persimmon onto the edge somewhere and hope it will be a female ;)

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    1. heh You always ask the hard questions! How can a person describe any taste … ? Here’s trying: mild like a fig or plum but with a more custardy texture. Instantly dissolving juicy sticky wet. Hope that helps =)

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    1. It will be fun to see if the prediction comes true or if the Almanac uses persimmon predictions in their mysterious calculations. heh

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    1. It made me think of a magic eight ball because the fruit is round & black when ripe. =) I was really surprised at how sweet it was — I was expecting a bitter note.

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  3. I love Texas persimmon. That beatiful bark and the gnarly trunks-just think it’s a wonderful tree. Thanks for writing about this underused Texas tree.

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