Date Plum

Diospyros lotus isn’t technically one of Lee Reich’s Uncommon Fruits, but D. kaki and D. virginiana are, and he mentions the date plum several times. I like dates, and the idea of growing something that approximates them is appealing.

Deno’s books aren’t helpful with this species, but lists the native persimmon (D. virginiana) as germinating with cold then warm treatment. I’ve done the same thing with the native persimmon with very high success rates. Granted that was with fresh seed, and this is dry stored seed. Deno suggests just warmth and moisture for sprouting D. texana. This is consistent with JL Hudson’s catalog suggestion of “Germinates in 1 – 3 months with no prechill needed”. The downsize to this is that three months from now I might have seedlings in September. There won’t be any time for them to harden off for winter.

In previous situations like this I’ve dragged seedlings inside to grow over winter under lights. The sometimes drop their leaves for a few weeks when I take them back outside, but usually take off and adjust to a normal seasonal schedule after that.

Plants for a Future suggests that seed is best sown fresh, and that stored seed may need to be given cool stratification to break dormancy.

There is a handbook for seedbanks that suggests that cold treatment is necessary for this species as well.

I’ve split this packet, and I’ll start some in the warmth now. The packet had a little over 60 seeds, so I’ve started about 30. If I get good germination I’ll plant the rest in very early spring next year. If I don’t, I’ll start the rest in the fall, and cycle the entire lot of seeds through a several month’s long cold cycle.

The seeds don’t look like any persimmon (Diospyros) seeds I’ve seen before. The shape and color are somewhat similar, but they are so much smaller as to look like adorable little toy persimmon seeds.

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