Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

Diospyros kaki, a cultivated fruit of the persimmon family whose wild ancestor grew in China. It has also been called ‘Japanese persimmon’ and a variety of it (cultivated in Israel) is extensively marketed as ‘sharon fruit’.

It has for long been a popular fruit in China, Japan, and Korea, and has recently ousted the American persimmon in popularity in the USA, where it is cultivated in California. Its introduction there is credited to Commodore Perry in 1856. But Sir Joseph Banks, the botanist who accompanied Captain Cook on his first voyage round the world, is believed to have brought a specimen to Europe much earlier. In western countries it is often called the Chinese or Japanese or oriental persimmon.