Monday, 28 January 2013

Pomegranate (Punica granatum)

Commonly known as Pomegranate, this tree is native from Iran to the Himalayas. It is now cultivated throughout the Mediterranean region of Asia, Africa, and Europe. 

The Pomegranate Tree is a small tree about 6 to 10m tall. It has an attractive crown and many branches that are somewhat spiny. The oblong-lanceolate leaves are opposite or borne in whorls of 5 or 6. They are glossy and entire, about 3 to 7cm long and 3cm wide.

The flowers are bright and showy and borne on the tips of branches singly or in clusters of up to 5. The bright red flowers are about 3cm in diameter and have thick, tubular red calyx that have 5 to 8 fleshy pointed sepals that form a base wheereby 3 to 7 crinkled red or white petals emerge from. 

The fruit is a round berry crowned at the base by the prominent calyx. At about 6 yo 13cm wide, the pomegranate has a tough, leathery rind. The rind is yellow to rich red. The interior of the fruit is separated by membranous walls and spongy white tissue into compartments packed with transparent sacs. These sacs are juicy, fleshy, each containing one seed. A pomegranate can contain between 200 to 1400 seeds depending on the size. It tastes tart, sweet, and tangy.

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