Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
19 ratings

Saturday - December 10, 2016

From: Franklin, NC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Edible Plants
Title: Identification of tart fruit that looks like a pumpkin
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

As a child, in Miami, Florida, in the 1950's, another child challenged me to eat a "fruit" that looked like a pumpkin. It was just a little bigger than those candy pumpkins we see now at Halloween, and it was orange. Unable to refuse a challenge, unfortunately, I took a bite of it, and quickly spit it out! It was extremely tart and nasty tasting. Any idea what that plant might be called? Maybe ignoramus childsixus? Thanks!

ANSWER:

Probably you were given a less-than-ripe Diospyros virginiana (Common persimmon) to eat.  When they are fully ripe these fruits are sweet and delicious; however, if not completely ripened, they are very tart. It is a common prank in the south to give someone an unripe persimmon to eat—an unpleasant experience! Here is a photo of the fruit from the internet.

There are non-native persimmons that are similar to the native common persimmon.  A Wiki-How article tells you how to tell the difference between ones that they call sweet and ones classified as astringent.  It is possible that you were given a non-native persimmon to eat, but probably it was the native one since in the 1950s the non-native ones wouldn't have been as readily available as they are today.

 

From the Image Gallery


Common persimmon
Diospyros virginiana

Common persimmon
Diospyros virginiana

Common persimmon
Diospyros virginiana

More Edible Plants Questions

Looking for a supplier for Mustang Grape vine in Austin, TX>
April 02, 2012 - I'm looking for a supplier in Austin that will have a Mustang Grape Vine seed or plant for purchase. I found Natives of Texas in Kerrville, but if you know of a supplier in Austin, that would be pre...
view the full question and answer

Planting native blueberry bushes in Tennessee
July 07, 2008 - I have long wished to have wild blueberry bushes at my home. They are native to mountainous regions of my state, but I don't know whether or not it is reasonable to expect to be able to grow them wh...
view the full question and answer

Are yellow bells (Tecoma stans) edible?
January 25, 2009 - Can you tell me if any part of the yellow bell can be eaten and if so what part. Also is it useful in making natural paints?
view the full question and answer

Native Edible Plants of Pennsylvania Books
April 25, 2013 - What is the best book that you know of for finding wild plant edibles in Pennsylvania?
view the full question and answer

Toxicity of leaves and berries of lantana
July 19, 2007 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants!!! I live in Columbia, SC and have fallen in love with the Lantana or Lanta plants. I have a lot of them because of their rapid growth. My question is -- in addition to all t...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.