The summer of no persimmons
I missed it — the elusive scent — the overwhelming sweetness, no not sweet, that would be cloying like too much candy. This is exotic, almost erotic, yet dangerous. The bees swam the tiny blossoms. The bush hums as if electrified — like the control box down the road. The flowers are so small one wonders at the heady aroma. I dismissed it assuming that I had once again missed the fateful days when the tiny flowers erupted and attracted the bees.
At first, I did ascribe it to timing. I had not walked by at the correct time of day when the sun was hot and the air still. It is an elusive scent, the blooms of the Texas persimmon. You chance upon it on a sun warmed April day and gasp at the intoxicating odor. You lean close to the bush, for most are bushes, careful to not disturb the industrious bees as they gather the nectar and transfer the pollen. One wonders why a perfume company has not captured that scent but that can possibly only be explained that they are not aware of it.
As spring turned to summer, I noticed not only had I not smelled the flowers, but there were also no fuzzy green balls growing among the slivery green leaves. Our rains had been abundant so that was not the cause. In my haste to get the mail back to the house, I passed it off that I had just not been looking carefully enough.
Now, in the fall, it is obvious the deep freeze of February did damage to our native plants as well as our pipes and pumps. On all the dozens of Texas persimmon bushes and small trees scattered across our acres, there were no plump black fruit to be found.
The fruit of the Texas persimmon is incredibly sweet and favored by all the animal prone to eat plants. Whitetail deer love them but unfortunately, sometimes eat them before they are fully ripe. For some, that means an upset stomach but for some small, recently unspotted ones, it can mean death. When the fruit is ripe, you have to be quick to get a taste because between the deer, the raccoons, and the foxes, they don’t last long.
Some have indicated you can make jam or preserves out of the fruit, but with the large seeds, it takes a lot of fruit. Better to just eat a few and leave the rest for the wildlife. Hope we have a better year next year.
April 2022, Postscript! The bushes are overcompensating for the freeze! As I walk around our property and down the road, I am surrounded and entranced by the scent. The persimmons are blooming! The bees must be confused or exhausted by the possibilities. The air is redolent with the scent unlike former years where it was elusive. Now, I must admit I am more cognizant of the need to seek them out, but good grief! This may be overdone. One hopes, for the goodwill of the wildlife, that the overabundance of blooms yields a bounty of fruit in the fall.
August 2022, the awful drought and heat of this summer has culled the crop. As I walk on the trail or down the road, I see the bushes dropping the green fruits. I suspect this allows the plant to insure it has the strongest fruits to propagate its kind. PKG