Sunday, October 21, 2012

Oriental persimmon, Diopyros kaki, fruiting in Kuala Lumpur

The oriental persimmon, Diospyros kaki, is grown mainly in sub-tropical and temperate climates where the fruits ripen in late autumn and winter when the trees are bare of leaves. In the tropics the oriental persimmon is grown  commercially on mountains at above 1000m, especially in Java and Sumatra. In Malaysia there have been attempts to grow persimmons in the Cameron Highlands but the industry has failed to take off commercially. The persimmon fruits in Malaysian supermarkets are all imported from overseas.

In the tropical lowlands, the oriental persimmon has been grown successfully in Kuching for at least three decades, in a few private gardens. I managed to obtain some seeds from Kuching and planted them in the rooftop Secret Garden of 1 Utama a few years ago. This week, the first batch of fruits began to ripen by turning yellow. The trees are fully leafed because the trees do not winter in KL. The fruits are undersized, measuring only 3.5 - 4 cm diameter, but this is a good start. .