This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V20", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
This fruit is found in Japan and China in the same varieties of soil and climate as the wild persimmon of our own country. It will probably succeed as far North as Lat. 42°, and from that to the Gulf.
Like other fruits, it differs widely in size,flavor and value, according to the soil, climate and culture. It is stated that there are a hundred varieties, of which but few are of value for general cultivation. Some are the size of a musket ball, and others have exceeded a pound in weight. Some also ripen on the tree like the apple, while others (and some of the choicest kinds) are subjected to a process of ripening to remove the astringency and develop the peculiar, rich and luscious flavor.
An exact description of all the varieties is yet to be prepared. Owing to the diversity of names and variations in the fruit, it is difficult to obtain a complete and reliable account of the various kinds.
From careful observation and comparison of authorities I have selected the following as desirable varieties for introduction here, and I give as far as possible a condensed account of each.
Nihon is usually slightly oblong, is round in shape, color yellowish red, with black spots in the surface and also in the flesh. It is not large, but very productive and early. The flesh is solid and it keeps well, ripening on the tree in September. It is much esteemed for its peculiarly sweet flavor. Grown about Tokio.
Daimio, oblong with rounded apex, color red with black or dark stripes about the eye, medium size, flesh soft, ripens in October. Called "Yedo's best Persimmon".
Taikoon, round, of a pale or greenish yellow color, medium size, ripens on the tree in October. A great favorite in Western Japan.
Royal, similar in shape to the Taikoon, but more yellow in color, large size. Is said to be good for drying.
Mikado, shaped like a tomato, medium size, bright yellow color. Called in Japan"Tarngaki"
(from tarn a tub), as it is usually plucked and packed in casks to ripen. A very common and popular fruit in Yedo and vicinity. Not much used for drying. Some of the specimens are seedless, and especially when the trees are young.
Imperial or Yamato, this is shaped like an acorn or minnie ball. It is very large, reddish color, with sometimes dark stripes on the surface. The flesh is soft when ripe and particularly sweet and fine. When peeled and dried it resembles figs, being covered with sugar that exudes from the fruit. It will ripen on the tree, but is usually ripened in casks. Season, later part of October to January. The most popular variety among the Japanese. From Mino in Central Japan.
Gogen, like the Imperial except in size, but it is said that the trees are more prolific. Ripens on the tree. Is used for drying.
Kanosan, color yellowish red, oblong, good size, ripens off the tree. The apex is bent to one side.
There is a variety called the "Maine Gaki "(or bean persimmon from its size), that is not good for eating, but the juice of which is used for making paint. The wood is very beautiful, being mottled and black like ebony. It is prized very highly for cabinet ware. The wood of other varieties is not generally of as fine a quality.
There is a small seedless persimmon found in Southern Japan that is used chiefly for drying. It is probable that the trees sold in this country as "seedless "are either the same or else amis-take. No large and seedless variety, as has been represented, is to be obtained.