Sunday, August 8, 2010

Pomegranate (Punica granatum)

Pomegranate is a subtropical to temperate zone plant (USDA Zones 7-11).  It has a shrubby to multi-trunk-tree form, with a weeping habit. It can grow to 20 feet or more but is often kept around 10 foot for ease of harvest.
The foliage can be evergreen or deciduous depending on winter temperatures and rainfall.  New growth is reddish in color.
Bright orange blossoms appear on new growth, opening from late spring through early summer.  The flowers are self-pollinating but production will be increased with cross-pollination.
After the flower petals fall, the thick, waxy calyx remains behind.
The developing Pomegranate fruit starts to swell as the summer progresses.
Fruit ripens from late summer to fall.  Excess fruit can be refrigerated for several months and may actually improve in quality. Fruits can be eaten fresh or juiced.
When the fruit is mature, it will often develop a reddish blush, as in the first photo. The amount of red is variety-dependent, and sometimes climate-dependent.

When you break the fruit open, it's filled with many juicy red arils. This is the edible part of the fruit. It can be eaten as-is, or juiced for consumption. The color of the arils varies by cultivar, and may range from white to dark red.

Many scientific studies have confirmed the cancer-fighting properties and other benefits of pomegranate juice according to WebMD.

Punica granatum is native to the region ranging from the Middle-East to the Himalayas.  It is hardy to 12°F and thrives in arid conditions.
There are many named varieties that vary in plant size, fruit size, fruit color, etc.  Dwarf varieties are sold mainly as ornamentals and produce little or no fruit.
A textile dye is made from the rind and flowers, while ink can be produced by steeping the leaves in vinegar.  The Japanese extract an insecticide from the bark and various plant parts have medicinal qualities.

6 comments:

AaronVFT said...

My brother loves pomegranates, although I dislike the taste. The flowers resemble poppies.

Maleviks Rosenträdgård said...

WONDERFUL BLOG :)
Håkan

Susan said...

Very pretty plant and flowers even if you aren't a big fan of the fruit.

Malay-Kadazan girl said...

Pomegranate also grows well here in Adelaide, Australia. But you see it rarely in the local market.

Susan said...

What a delicate looking flower for such a bold fruit!

. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

Love your photos.

I hope to find a spot for this fruit in my garden.

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