Dymple, a woman with decidedly heightened domestic urges (cooking, baking, weaving, knitting), told me how persimmon trees grow. "You have your male and female trees, and they cross-pollinate by way of the wind or by bees." As she led me through their grove of planted trees (300 near the house, in addition to the ones that grow wild elsewhere on the property), Dymple explained that a male tree can cross-pollinate any female tree within a mile radius. The flower, a thumbnail-size, greenish-yellow bloom resembling a tulip, gives way to a fruit that is rarely larger than a plum and ranges in color from pale orange to a deep brick red. While still on the tree, the fruit looks like a tiny, pale jack-o'-lantern and is tremendously, unpleasantly acidic and astringent (it's high in tannic acid). But when dead ripe, even mushy, it tastes delicious, like a cross between an apricot and a date. It's also rich in vitamins A and C. Unlike the generally seedless oriental persimmon, the native is packed with as many as eight large seeds. It begins ripening in Mitchell in mid-September, at least a month earlier than the oriental varieties, which are grown mainly in California.