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Native American Persimmon Mythology

The persimmon is one of several plants with a name that comes from a Native American language-- "persimmon" is an early colonial word that comes from the Powhatan name for the fruit, pichamin (also spelled putchamin, pessemmin, pushemin, parsemen, and a number of other ways... spelling was not standardized in the 1600's even for English, let alone Native American languages.) Persimmons were a favorite fruit of many tribes, either eaten plain or cooked into sweet puddings. The persimmon tree's bark and syrup were also used as medicine herbs, particularly for sore throats and mouth ailments.

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Native American Legends About Persimmons

Raccoon and the Indian Persimmon:
    Legend about a man who turned into a raccoon after being distracted from a vision quest by persimmons.
*Why Coyote Stopped Imitating His Friends: * Coyote Imitates His Hosts:
    Caddo legends about Coyote unsuccessfully trying to build a persimmon tree.
*Coyote The Hungry:
    Caddo folktale about Opossum refusing to share persimmons with Coyote.

Recommended Books of Persimmon Stories from Native American Myth and Legend
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How Turtle's Back Was Cracked:
    Picture book based on a Cherokee legend about Turtle getting into a fight over persimmons.
Native Plant Stories:
    Excellent collection of Native American folklore about plant spirits, by Abenaki storyteller Joseph Bruchac.
Native American Food Plants:
    Comprehensive book on the names and traditional uses of food plants throughout Native North America.

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