Date Plum - Female Seedling
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Date plum.
Diospyros lotus
Date Plum - Female Seedling

Acquired: 2004
How started:
Source: Washington Park Arboretum, Seattle

Also known as Caucasian Persimmon, and among the oldest plants in cultivation. Started from seed obtained from the arboretum in Seattle. The source tree is not longer in that collection. Fruit seen for the first time in 2012.

Known by the ancient Greeks as the fruit of the gods, the date plum is renowned for its sweet taste that resembles both plums and dates. Mentioned in Homer's epic poem the Odyssey, it was so tasty that those who ate it forgot about going home and wanted only to eat lotus fruit with the lotus-eaters.

The date plum fruit is yellow when immature and ripens to a purple-brown colour. It is a very small fruit, only 1-2cm, that contain lots of sugars, malic acid, and vitamins. They are used as fresh fruits, but usually dried. Drying and frost destroy their tartness. The fruit contains about 1.9% protein, 0.2% fat, 47.7% carbohydrate, 1% ash.

The tree is well known for its dark wood. Although the date plum has dark pink or even blackish bark, its wood is not as black or dense as true ebony. Its fine grain means that it polishes well and as a result is used extensively in musical instruments, especially as piano keys and also for making chess pieces.

Native to China and a range of countries that span the Himalayas and other parts of Asia Minor, Diospyros lotus was introduced to Britain in 1597, and introduced to Edmonds, WA in 1984 :-)

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