The persimmon tree comes from China, there are two main varieties and there are other uses for the fruit other than that of eating. The persimmon tree is not only native to China, but the Chinese developed over 2,000 different cultivars. This plant didn't make it to the United States until the 1800s, when the seeds were brought to California.
There are two main varieties of persimmon trees: astringent and non-astringent. Non-astringent persimmons such as Fuyu can be eaten raw and stay good when stored at room temperature for several weeks. Astringent persimmons have a much shorter shelf life, usually just a few days, and require cooking before consumption.
The fruit of the persimmon tree has many uses. Most of the fruit is edible, although some varieties need curing before they can be eaten. The American persimmon fruit is only edible after the fall freeze. A few types such as the wild persimmon tree found in Japan have inedible fruit. These fruits are useful as insect repellent. The fruits are crushed, mixed with water until it forms a liquid solution and pasted on paper. Unripe persimmons in Japan are rich in tannin, which is an organic, acidic substance that is used as a preservative and in the making of sake.