Does one Eureka Persimmon Want a Pollinator?
Persimmon trees (Diospyros spp.) Bear fruit which tastes heavenly, so it’s no surprise that its botanical name means “food of the gods” and its own wood was thought to create chairs for the gods. But before this heavenly fruit can form, flowers have to emerge and blossom on branches. Pollination is a complicated matter with persimmon trees. Some persimmons arise from pollinated flowers, along with other fruit emerges from unpollinated blossoms.
Although the American, or typical, persimmon (Diospyros virginiana) is a species indigenous to the United States, the OrientalJapanese or Japanese persimmon (Diospyros kaki), of which “Eureka” is a cultivar, hails from Asia. American varieties are more cold-hardy than Oriental kinds, surviving to U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zone 5. Oriental varieties thrive in USDA zone 7 and warmer, where summers are milder and winters are somewhat more temperate. “Eureka” is an Oriental persimmon cultivar which has drought- and frost-resistance and produces orange-red fruits with superior quality.
American persimmon trees are almost exclusively dioecious, meaning female and male flowers are formed on separate trees. Oriental persimmon trees have different sexual types. Some trees have either male or female flowers, while some may have both types on the exact same tree. Some trees have individual blossoms that contain both female and male parts. To complicate matters further, though flowers must typically be pollinated before they form adult persimmons, a few cultivars, such as “Eureka,” are in a position to place parthenocarpic fruit from unpollinated flowers. The California Rare Fruit Growers site notes that a tree sexual expression may even change from 1 year to the next.
As brokers that transfer pollen to female flower parts, bees are primary pollinators for persimmon trees. Persimmon flowers form in the leaf axils, that’s the point where the petiole, or leaf stalk, joins the stem. Female flowers climb singly and male flowers are generally borne in sets of three. Because persimmon flowers are so small, tiny native bees from the Halictidae family, such as sweat bees, locate easy work of entering blossoms. When plants like “Eureka,” which do not require pollination to set fruit are pollinated, the consequent fruits are larger and seedier.
Although “Eureka” trees are self-fruitful and do not require a different tree to pollinate them, they’ll set more fruit if other trees are planted nearby. They also create more persimmons if pollinators are encouraged to visit. Utilizing synthetic chemical sprays may ruin some bees or entire colonies, depending on the levels and concentrations of chemicals you use. The Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service recommends not using pesticides through times when trees are blooming. This gives bees and other pollinators chemical-free landings and visits to persimmon flowers.