Divine Fruit


common/American/Eastern persimmon; possumwood
Diospyros virginiana
Ebenaceae (ebony family)

Not in flower now, of course, but look at those lovely fruits! The flowers in spring are inconsequential, or maybe they’re just too high up to see, but the leaves have lovely color in autumn and of course those orange globes are quite eye-catching. The tree pictured here is on the banks of the Potomac along the Billy Goat B trail.

Our native persimmons are edible, but don’t try to pick them; they have to be completely ripe, otherwise the astringency will make you gag.  The sensation in your mouth after eating an underripe persimmon is rather like having a vinegar-soaked wad of cotton crammed in.  The best way to tell if they’re ripe enough to eat is to wait for them to fall.  Of course, that leads to other problems, like having squished fruits.


I’m lucky enough to have a persimmon tree in my front yard.  I think it’s a lovely landscape tree, with a distinctive bark pattern and nice dark green leaves (when the weather isn’t droughty).


Those fruits would be a nuisance in a lawn or near a patio.  Fortunately my tree is streetside. After thoroughly washing a few fallen fruit and gingerly tasting them, I decided not to let them go to waste.  A length of deer netting, some garden stakes, and a few cable ties later, I’m catching one to two dozen a day. The pulp seems to freeze well.


Common persimmon is a medium-sized tree, usually growing 30 to 60 feet tall in the wild, and larger in the landscape if properly maintained.  Its native range, per the USFS, is from southeastern Pennsylvania south into Florida, and westward to east Texas and Kansas.  USDA lists it further north, into New York (threatened) and Connecticut (special concern).

The wood is very strong and close-grained, making it valuable for golf clubs, among other things.  Also it has an extremely high BTU value, so if you know of one being removed for some reason, collect the wood! And rent a hydraulic splitter.

A Few More From Acadia National Park

On Cadillac Mountain, September 16.


This pond is not quite at the summit, perhaps 1100 feet above sea level.  It seems to be nothing more than a water-filled deep cleft in the granite, not spring fed, though of course I can’t say for sure.  Nothing else nearby suggested a water table.


There’s a road to the top of Cadillac, which explains the crowds.  The two people in the foreground took the scenic route: the South Ridge trail, about three and a half miles from near sea level to 1,570 feet.  Really nice hike.



This herring gull (Larus argentatus) seemed totally happy perched here, about 1,200 feet above sea level.

Not Quite a Drought


the narrow channel between Billy Goat B and Offutt Island; the river is really low – all the land in this picture should be underwater

After three weeks’ absence I eagerly hit the Billy Goat B trail yesterday, expecting to find a lot of asters and goldenrods.  What I actually found was a whole lot of nothing.


that is one sad looking maple

OK, not really nothing, of course.  And although we are not yet officially in a drought, we are abnormally dry here.  As a result, the wildflower show is really muted.  Plants are going dormant early, their leaves wilted or brown (at least, I hope they’re going dormant, and not dying).  Many trees have lost their leaves already, and others’ leaves are turning brown


this black walnut isn’t too happy, either

I saw plenty of white snakeroot, which is dominant at this time of year regardless of weather, a fair amount of wingstem, several different species of goldenrod, a few silverrods budding up, a few scattered asters, one plant in the genus Bidens, and that’s about it.


look at all the brown plants behind this smooth aster


that’s a sorry looking wingstem, but the bumblebee doesn’t seem to mind


riverbank goldenrod says “what is drought?”


calyces on bugleweed

Jordan Pond Sunset

Acadia National Park, September 8


6:44 pm
Nikon D750
Nikor 24-120mm f/4 VR G
ISO 100; 46mm; f/14; 1/25 sec


6:45 pm
Nikon D750
Nikor 24-120mm f/4 VR G
ISO 100; 31mm; f/14; 1/30 sec


“The Bubbles”
6:47 pm
Nikon D750
Nikor 24-120mm f/4 VR G
ISO 100; 30mm; f/14; 1/6 sec


6:48 pm
Nikon D750
Nikor 24-120mm f/4 VR G
ISO 100; 30mm; f/14; 1/5 sec