[Sca-cooks] persimmons

Johnna Holloway johnnae at mac.com
Wed Sep 8 20:07:20 PDT 2010

And I think it remained a novelty at least in Britain. I didn't find  
it mentioned in EEBO and the OED quotations are sparse, to say the  

I own the Dover facsimile edition of Parkinson's 1629 Paradisi in  
Sole. In it he comments that
he has never tasted the fresh fruit because the tree, the Virginia  
Pishamin, the Virginia Plumme, "hath growne with us of the kernels  
that were sent out of Virginia, into great trees... It hath not yet  
borne flower or fruit in our Countrey that I can understand : but the  
fruit, as it was sent to us, is in forme and bigness like unto a Date,  
covered with a blackish skinne, set in a huske of foure hard leaves,  
very firme like unto a date, and almost as sweete, with great flat and  
thicke kernels within them, very like unto the former, but larger.
The Use of these Lote trees.

the last , as Captain Smith relateth in the discovery of Virginia, if  
the fruit be eaten while it is greene, and not ripe, is able by the  
harsh and binding taste and quality to draw ones mouth awry... but  
when it is thorough ripe it is pleasant, as I have said before." page  

So in 1629 he was still relaying upon Smith's description about the  
unripe fruits. He does include an illustration in one of the plates.


On Sep 8, 2010, at 4:30 PM, David Friedman wrote:

> As far as I can tell, the old world persimmons are native to the far  
> east. The word "persimmon" comes from an Indian language.
> Is there any evidence that any sort of persimmon was known in Europe  
> prior to the discovery of the American persimmon? It seems to have  
> been a novelty when described by Capt. John Smith in 1607.

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