The genus Diospyros, which is distributed in tropical and subtropical regions of the world, contains hundreds of plant species. However, four species of them have commercial importance. D. kaki Thunb. is the most widely cultivated species of the Diospyros genus. Persimmon (D. kaki Thunb.) is grown in many parts of the world that display subtropical climate conditions. In recent years, the cultivation of persimmon has found renewed interest in various countries of the Mediterranean basin. In China (which is the origin of persimmon) and in Japan and Korea (where it is grown widely), persimmons were selected from some well-known old varieties. Recently in countries such as Italy, Spain, USA, Brazil, Turkey and Israel, persimmons were selected from new cultivars. Currently China, Japan and Korea have the big persimmon germplasm collections with a large number of varieties and other Diospyros species. Also, Italy, Spain, USA, Brazil, Turkey, Israel, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan and Pakistan have constituted the germplasms by high commercial value cultivars and/or local varieties. In this chapter, we tried to provide an overview of the genetic diversity and breeding of persimmon by combining literature with our studies.
Part of the book: Breeding and Health Benefits of Fruit and Nut Crops