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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.

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Saturday - August 17, 2013

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Propagation, Trees
Title: Has Texas Black Persimmon been crossed with non-native persimmons from Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Hi. I just found a Texas Black Persimmon in my neighborhood. The fruit is olive green and then black, then it explodes into a black slurry of seeds and syrup. The color is so strong I find myself wondering if anyone has tried to cross it with American or Asian Persimmons to get darker fruit. None of my explorations on the Internet have told me if this has been tried (perhaps it does not work . . . . I find experiments that fail tend to be forgotten). Anyhow, I like the plant and would like to have one.

ANSWER:

We did find a  Diospyros kaki (Japanese Persimmon) that has been heavily hybrdized, but not with Diospyros texana (Texas persimmon) (also known as Black Persimmon) nor, apparently, Diospyros virginiana (Common persimmon).

From Purdue University Horticulture here is an article on Japanese Persimmon,   detailing the many cultivars that have been developed over time and many of them have been developed in North America; if any attempt has been made to cross them with Diospyros texana (Texas persimmon), as you say, it has not been publicized.

We did note from some of our research that the Black Persimmon is very slow to ripen, but turns dark overnight and then the birds get the fruit immediately. Why go to all that trouble to grow the fruit if you're not going to be able to eat it yourself?

Because the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, home of Mr. Smarty Plants, is committed to the use, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America but to the areas in which those plants grow naturally, we would not have any information on a native/non-native hybrid in our database.

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas persimmon
Diospyros texana

Texas persimmon
Diospyros texana

Texas persimmon
Diospyros texana

Common persimmon
Diospyros virginiana

Common persimmon
Diospyros virginiana

Common persimmon
Diospyros virginiana

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