Punica granatum or Pomegranate is also known as Carthaginian Apple or Granada. It is part of the Lythraceae family of plants. Pomegranate is native to a region extending from Iran to India. Punica granatum is a multi-branched shrub with a rounded, bushy habit. It can grow up to 10m or 30ft tall very long living some living up to 200 years.
The name Pomegranate is from Latin pōmum “apple” and grānātum “seeded”. In old English, it was named as Apple of Grenada. This is one of the oldest fruit trees to be domesticated.
Punica granatum has glossy, oblong leaves. The leaves change color in autumn. Punica granatum flowers in the summer. The flowers are reddish-orange. The flowers have 5 to 7 petals and about 4cm or 2in wide. They are funnel-shaped.
The Pomegranate Fruit:
After flowering, it produces reddish-brown fruit. The seeds are also deep red. Each fruit can contain 200 to 1400 seeds. The fruits are edible. There are more than 500 cultivars.
Pomegranate is consumed as fruit and juice. Historically, even before tomatoes, the pomegranate was used as molasses in Persian cooking. In Persian pomegranate is called Anar. The juice is sweet and sour. It is a nutritious source of vitamins. Includes Vitamin C, K, and foliate. It is a rich source of fiber.
How to grow Punica granatum:
Grow Punica granatum in full sun. Plant in moist and fertile soil that is well-drained. For the fruit to ripen in autumn, it requires heat of around 15ºC or 58ºF. It is drought-resistant. Propagate by seed sown in spring or semi-hardwood cuttings in summer. It is pest-free and disease-free.
Punica granatum in medicine and culture and history:
Ancient Egyptians considered pomegranate as a symbol of abundance and prosperity. They used it in traditional medicine to treat tapeworms and infections. Greeks called it the fruit of the dead and claimed it was from the blood of Adonis. Pomegranate is an important fruit in Armenia and has cultural significance, representing fertility, abundance, and marriage and was used in marriage ceremonies. In China, in the Han Dynasty, it was also considered a symbol of fertility. Iran is the world’s second-largest producer of pomegranates, India is the largest producer.