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Common Name: Date Plum
Diospyros lotus is a deciduous tree that can grow up to 9.00 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of materials.
E. Asia - China, Japan. Himalayas.
Mixed mountain forests to 1500 metres in China[
Requires a good deep loamy soil in sun or light shade[
]. When being grown for its fruit, the tree should be given a warm, sheltered, sunny position[
]. It dislikes very acid or wet and poorly drained soils[
Dormant plants are very cold-hardy, but the young growth in spring, even on mature plants, is frost-tender and so it is best to grow the plants in a position sheltered from the early morning sun[
Dioecious, but the female tree can produce seedless fruits in the absence of a pollinator[
]. It is likely that unfertilized fruits are more astringent than fertilized fruits since this is the case with D. kaki[
Plants have a long tap root and are difficult to transplant[
], it is best to plant them out in their permanent position as soon as possible and to give protection overwinter for the first year or two[
This species is sometimes cultivated for its edible fruit in Italy and E. Asia, there are some named varieties[
Fruit - raw or cooked[
]. The fruit has an exquisitely rich flavour when it is fully ripe (almost at the point of going bad), but it is very harsh and astringent before then[
]. The fruit may not ripen properly in a cool summer, though if it is frosted it normally develops a very good flavour[
]. The fruit can be dried, when it acquires a date-like flavour[
]. The fruit can also be harvested in the autumn, preferably after a frost, and bletted[
]. (This is a process where the fruit is kept in a cool place and only eaten when it is very soft and almost at the point of going rotten). The fruit of trees in a fairly sunny position at Kew ripens on the tree in most years and produces fertile seed[
]. The fruit contains about 1.9% protein, 0.2% fat, 47.7% carbohydrate, 1% ash[
]. Fruits are about the size of a large cherry, they turn from yellow to blue-black when fully ripe[
]. The fruit is about 20mm in diameter[
The fruit is febrifuge[
]. It is also used to promote secretions[
The seed is regarded in China as being sedative[
Sometimes used as a rootstock for D. kaki[
Wood - durable, pliable, resists rot. Used for construction, general carpentry etc[
Seed - best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe[
]. Stored seed requires a period of cold-stratification and should be sown as early in the year as possible[
]. It usually germinates in 1 - 6 months at 15°c[
]. Pot up the young seedlings as soon as they are large enough to handle into fairly deep pots and plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer. Give them some protection from winter cold for their first year or two outdoors.
Cuttings of half-ripe wood, mid summer in a frame[
Layering in spring[