The persimmon (Diospyros kaki), Chinese in origin, is a wonderful fruit which unfortunately has had a reputation for doing poorly in southern Florida. Most of us think of persimmon as a California crop. After all, it was introduced there in the mid-19th century. However, its popularity has led to the creation of more than 2,000 cultivars, and finally Richard Lyons’ Nursery has come upon a hybrid that succeeds in our area.
Fittingly named Triumph, this very tasty cultivar will now allow growers in southern Florida to harvest a fruit – sometimes sold under the name Sharon – that is low in fats, high in dietary fiber, and possessed of anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-hemorrhagic properties.
Persimmon trees are also ornamentally appealing, growing to a moderate size and featuring glossy green leaves. When laden with fruit, they are particularly eye-catching. Triumph bears a tomato-shaped fruit that should be picked when mature – that is, fully-colored but still hard. Left to soften on the tree, the fruit will begin to attract hungry wildlife. The best practice is to leave picked fruit out at room temperature until it softens and its astringency has disappeared.
Triumph grows at a very deliberate rate and will not overwhelm even small yards. Richard Lyons’ Nursery has a limited number of these desirable trees in 1-gal. containers.