Plant native to Japan and the mountainous regions of China, arrived in Europe in the second half of the nineteenth century and has been present in Italy for over a century. The khaki is a tree that can reach up to 12 meters in height, has a globose crown, the leaves are oval-shaped with the upper glossy page. It produces large, orange-colored spherical fruits that are not normally eaten as soon as they are picked, in fact, after the harvest that takes place in November when all the leaves have fallen, to accelerate the maturation process, it is used to place them in boxes with some ripe apples. Khaki has a very high biological value, the pulp contains many vitamins and proteins and is rich in sugars. Khaki does not have any particular soil requirements, but prefers fresh and deep ones and does not like those that are limy and too moist. It lives well in areas with a warm and temperate climate, but it also adapts to colder climates, where, though, temperatures too low (-7 °, -10 °) can damage the plant, especially the young plants, which are very sensitive to low temperatures, in which case it is necessary to protect them, perhaps by wrapping the stem with bundles of straw.
Khaki (also called dišspero) is a tree belonging to the Ebanaceae family and is therefore a close relative of ebony. It is widely cultivated in our country both for ornamental purposes and for the sweet and very fleshy fruits whose color ranges from yellow to orange-red and brown. Italy is also, along with Spain, one of the largest European producers and many interesting cultivars are also available in our country.
The diospyros kaki (whose name derives from the Greek and means fire of the gods) is also a very interesting vegetable for some of its peculiar characteristics that we will illustrate.
The best exposure is always full sun. Only in this way we will achieve a (as much as possible) rapid growth and good fruiting. If we live in a cold area it is good practice to place the tree near a wall to the south. The heat accumulated during the day and released in the night will help the plant to overcome the most severe periods.
THE KAKI IN BRIEF
|Height at maturity||From 5 to 10 meters, but also many more, in a favorable climate|
|Width at maturity||Up to 8 meters|
|It needs water||Medium-high|
|Rusticitа||Average, also depending on the variety and the rootstock|
|Fruiting age||About 8 years|
|Fruiting vegetation||On new branches|
|Ground||Adaptable, but well-drained. No saline soils|
The khaki was initially considered rather sensitive to cold and was implanted only in the Center-South. Today the plant is routinely grafted onto Diospyros virginiana, originating from North America and very resistant to low temperatures. In general, therefore, we can say that it adapts to living almost all over the Italian territory, even at rather high altitudes (even 800 meters). It can be said that it does not particularly fear temperatures down to -15 ° C, but it is not uncommon to bear even up to -18 °. The only recommendation is to protect young and recently planted individuals with abundant mulching and to cover the trunk with insulating material (sheets, blankets, etc.) for at least the first two or three years.
THE KAKI CALENDAR
|Flowering||Late spring-early summer|
|Collection||From October to early December|
|Pruning||End of winter|