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The Native Persimmon (downloadable ebook reprint of 1915 USDA bulletin)

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The Native Persimmon
by W. F. Fletcher
USDA Farmers' Bulletin #685 (1915)


The Native Persimmon is a detailed (28 original pages) summary of the history, attributes, uses, and methods of propagation and cultivation of America's native persimmon tree (Diospyros virginiana). I was excited to find the original bulletin because it contains lots of information about persimmons that doesn't come up in Google searches. From the Table Of Contents:

- Introduction
- General description of the persimmon
- Possibilities of improvement
- Propagation of the persimmon
- Cultivation of the persimmon
- Uses of the persimmon tree
- Uses of the persimmon fruit
- Recipes for using persimmons
- Selected and cultivated named persimmon varieties

The USDA was a lot more oriented to what we would call permaculture and agroforestry ideas 100 years ago, even offering guild suggestions for intercropping among persimmon trees:

Probably the persimmon can be more successfully intercropped than any other fruit tree, owing to the depth of its root system. Blackberries, dewberries, strawberries, and vegetables thrive very well among persimmons until the shade becomes too dense. When the trees shade the ground, it is best to seed down the orchard if it is to be used as a run for chickens, calves, pigs, or other animals and the fruit used as stock feed. If it is planned to produce fruit for market purposes, however, the same cultivation should be given the ground as in a commercial orchard of peach or other fruit trees.

There are fifteen recipes in the recipe section, including for persimmon bread, persimmon crumpets, persimmon pancakes, persimmon-peanut muffins, and even two types of persimmon candy.

I'm excited and intrigued by the listing and descriptions of thirteen different selected, named, and cultivated varieties of native persimmons.  I wonder how many (or how few) of these survive today?

The real meat of this book is in the sections on propagation, which explain how to grow from seed, from root cuttings, or from branchwood cuttings, as well as offering the most detailed grafting instructions I have seen anywhere for persimmons.  (Really it's almost the only persimmon-specific grafting discussion I've found.)

More information at my Pecan Media website.  (The purchase/download links there will bring you right back to this thread when you decide to buy the ebook.)

Want to know more about American Persimmons before you buy the ebook?  Here are some deeply informative Permies threads:

american persimmon...a drought resistant and delicious fruit and source of beautiful carving wood
American Persimmon uses: food, fuel, carving...



The Native Persimmon (downloadable ebook reprint of 1915 USDA bulletin)
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