Other Names: Chocolate Pudding Fruit, Black Persimmon
Fruit: Fruits are of a similar size to apples, and have a thin olive-green skin and a green calyx. When ripe the fruits are very soft, with the skin almost splitting. The edible flesh inside the fruit is a dark brown/black in colour with a mild, sweet flavour and consistency of chocolate mousse. There are 1-10 medium sized brown seeds inside the fruit.
Growth Habit: Chocolate pudding fruit are attractive, upright trees that grow slowly to about 6m in subtropical regions.
Foliage/Flowers: Chocolate Pudding fruits are evergreen, with dark green glossy leaves about 10-30cm long. The flowers appear singly or in groups of 3 to 7 in the leaf axils. Flowers are small, white and tubular. Most trees are self fertile, but multiple plants may improve pollination.
Adaptation: Chocolate Pudding fruit are suited to a wide range of tropical and sub-tropical climates, but young trees need protection from cold wind and frost. They are wind tolerant when mature, although a warm, sunny sheltered spot is ideal.
Soils : Adaptable to a broad range of soils, however a fertile, well-drained soil is best. Fertilise in spring with compost.
Irrigation : Water regularly throughout the year, though do not over water during fruit formation. Can tolerate periodic flooding.
Pruning : Pruning is generally not necessary, although some experimentation might be worthwhile pruning in a similar way to how persimmons would be pruned.
Propagation : Trees are usually grown from seed, which remain viable for several months in dry storage and germinate in about 30 days.
Pests and diseases : Other than scale, it appears to have few pests or diseases.
Harvest: Trees begin to bear fruit in 3-5 years. The green fruit is picked from August – December, when the calyx (lobes of the sepals) has started to turn upward at the edges, and the fruit is still hard but of mature size. Off the tree the fruits will then darken slightly in colour and progressively soften over a few days to a week or two. At the ripe stage fruits should be very soft and squishy, and you should be able to press the skin easily with your fingers and leave an indent. Due to their mild flavour, fruits are best enjoyed mixed with orange juice or passionfruit or yogurt and honey. They’re also fantastic in fruit smoothies and juices, imparting a rich chocolate colour to the drinks.
Varieties: Seedling, Berniker