Diospyros • Persimmon • カキ • 柿 • kaki
The Persimmon tree is listed in our Plant List as growing in areas U (orchard) and W (Tea House Garden). The one in the south end of the orchard (near light-post) is very well visible from the W path, while the one in Tea House garden is not (the Tea House garden it is much less frequented and off the regular tour path).
Persimmon in the orchard had its first fruit in 2004, and by now has fruits regularly – this year 7 or 8 fruits are still hanging on the tree.
• From wikipedia: Diospyros kaki, better known as the Japanese persimmon, kaki persimmon (kaki [柿]) or Asian persimmon in North America, is the most widely cultivated species of the Diospyros genus. Although its first published botanical description was not until 1780, the kaki is among the oldest plants in cultivation, known for its use in China for more than 2000 years. In some rural Chinese communities, the kaki fruit is seen as having a great mystical power that can be harnessed to solve headaches, back pains and foot ache.
The persimmon (kaki) is a sweet, slightly tangy fruit with a soft to occasionally fibrous texture. This species, native to China, is deciduous, with broad, stiff leaves. Cultivation extended first to other parts of East Asia and was later introduced to California and southern Europe in the 19th century, to Brazil in the 1890s, and numerous cultivars have been selected. A variety is Diospyros kaki var. sylvestris Makino.
• From Missouri Botanical Garden: Common Name: kaki, Type: Tree, Family: Ebenaceae. […] Noteworthy Characteristics: Diospyros kaki, commonly called kaki, Japanese persimmon or Oriental persimmon, is a deciduous tree with a rounded spreading crown that typically grows to 20-30’ tall. Outer branches may droop. This tree is noted not only for its edible fruits but also for its excellent ornamental features. Cultivars of this tree produce the persimmons sold in supermarkets today. Kaki is native to India, Burma, China and Korea, and is widely cultivated in Japan. […] Genus name comes from Greek dios meaning divine and pyros meaning wheat or grain resulting in divine fruit.
• When searched for ‘cultural meaning of persimmon’ came across this interesting tidbit on Answers.com: In Japanese symbolism what does persimmon represent? Answer: In Buddhism, the persimmon is used as a symbol of transformation. The green persimmon is acrid and bitter, but the fruit becomes very sweet as it ripens. Thus, man might be basically ignorant but that ignorance is transformed into wisdom as the persimmon’s bitterness is transformed into sweet delicious fruit.
Dried persimmons or hoshi gaki are served at New Year’s time in Hawaii. They signify health and success in life for the new year. From “Favorite Island Cookery”, a Japanese Cookbook put out by the Honpa Hongwanji in Honolulu, Hawaii. This answer was posted by Gaye Miyasaki of Honolulu, Hawaii
• My favorite haiku on the persimmon, by Kobayashi Issa, 1813, translation by David Lanoue:
kaki no ha ya makka ni natte sugu ni chiru
once they turn crimson