Sunday, September 9, 2012

"Season Of Mists And Mellow Fruitfulness"

So wrote Keats in his "Ode To Autumn". Here are two of Tennessee's fall fruits.

This is the American Persimmon,Diospyros virginiana. It is common in forests all over Tennessee, and was photographed this morning at Percy Warner Park. Its fruit is an autumn banquet for possums and deer, and I would not be surprised if coyotes ate it as well. Books say its fruit ripens after frost, but this is a myth. Frost does not come here till late October, and by then most persimmons are on the ground. You can turn the fruit into puddings or muffins, and years ago I did. But now I leave it to the wildlife, for this fruit has a metallic aftertaste that the Japanese persimmons in grocery stores do not. This is not a yard tree. It suckers too much.

This is the wild Fox grape, Vinis labrusca. It makes good grape juice, if you can collect enough clusters. When I lived in New England, I did. But these grapes were at a public park, and pulling vines down to get them would be frowned upon- We will have to leave them to the birds.


Out on the prairie said...

I had heard the frost idea also, but never tried them fresh. I found a tree in the middle of nowhere, but it only had one fruit after frost.

Κωστής Τζαγκαράκης said...

So much more to learn about Tennessee and its plants Betsy.
From the name of that first tree a word was noticed by me..
"Diospyros" ...
It sounds like a Greek word to me, composed of two other words.
"Dios" meaning of Jupiter
(Dias or Zeus = Jupiter)
and "Pyros" = of fire
(Pyr = fire in ancient Greek).
so the word should mean something like this...
Diospyros = of the fire of Jupiter.
I will add a couple (copy/paste) lines from Wikipedia:

Diospyros is a genus of about 450–500 species of deciduous and evergreen trees, shrubs and small bushes. The majority are native to the tropics, with only a few species extending into temperate regions. Depending on their nature, individual species commonly are known as ebony or persimmon trees. Some are valued for their hard, heavy, dark timber, and some for their fruit. Some are useful as ornamentals and many are of local ecological importance.
The generic name Diospyros comes from the ancient Greek words "Dios" (διός) and "pyros" (πυρος). In context this means more or less "divine fruit" or "divine food", though its literal meaning is more like "Wheat of Zeus".[2][3] The interpretation of Diospyros is however sufficiently confusing to have given rise to some curious and inappropriate interpretations such as "God's pear" and Jove's fire". The name Diospyros was originally applied to the Caucasian Persimmon (D. lotus).

Thank you for your patient to read all this.


betsy said...

Thank you Steve and Costas for your comments. I am sure our opposums think the persimmon is food from the gods!