Characteristics of Pomegranate Tree (Punica granatum) in the Wild

Punica granatum
Pomegranate is a species of fruiting tree in the family Lythraceae, subfamily Punicoideae. The origin of the pomegranate tree is estimated from Iran to northern India, and the tree is now cultivated throughout the Mediterranean region.

Pomegranate trees were first introduced to America in the late 16th century and Spain in the 17th century. In the 20th century until this moment, pomegranate trees became common trees that were widely planted everywhere.

Pomegranates appear in March to May, and in the northern hemisphere from September to February. The fruit can be eaten directly or processed into food and drinks.

Pomegranate has been a cherished fruit for decades, it is evident from the many archaeological findings of pomegranates.

HISTORY OF POMEGRANATE
Large, dry pomegranates are found in the tomb of Djehuty or Thoth (one of the ancient Egyptian gods) in Egypt.

According to Ebers Papyrus, one of the oldest medical writings from around 1500 BC, the Egyptians used pomegranates for the treatment of tapeworms and other infections.

Records found in Mesopotamia (now Iraq) mention pomegranates used by humans from the middle of the third millennium BC. Remnants of waterlogged pomegranates there have been identified, and it dates from around the 14th century BC.

The shipwreck off the coast of Turkey, Uluburun, was found complete with its items including perfume, ivory, gold jewelry, and pomegranates. Shows that the pomegranate at that time might be considered a luxury item. Other archaeological findings from the remains of pomegranates from the Late Bronze Age have been found mainly in elite houses, which support this conclusion.

The British Quaker, Peter Collinson, wrote to botanist John Bartram in Philadelphia in 1762 and said “Plant it on the side of your house near the wall, in this way it thrives with us, and flowering beautifully, and bearing fruit. In this hot year, I have 24 fruit on one tree.”

Doctor Fothergill (a generous doctor, plant collector, and writer) in the 17th century said, “Of all the trees, this is the most healthy for humanity.”

 
The pomegranate tree was introduced to China during the Han Dynasty in 206 BC. In ancient times considered a symbol of fertility. This symbolism is a play on words in the Chinese character 子 (zǐ) which means seed, also means “offspring” so that fruit containing so many seeds is a sign of fertility.

Images of ripe pomegranates split with visible seeds, often hung in large Chinese homes, provide fertility and bless homes with many offspring, an important aspect of traditional Chinese culture.

Pomegranates do have so many stories behind them besides history and cultural symbols. It has also become one of the most important fruits, not only in China but throughout the world.

 

Characteristics of Pomegranate Leaf

Punica granatum Leaf
Source : flickr.com/Amadej Trnkoczy

Opposite pomegranate leaves or sub opposite, shiny yellowish-green, oblong, between 3-7 cm long and 2-3 cm wide.

 

Characteristics of Pomegranate Flower

Punica granatum Flower
Source : flickr.com/Linda DV

Pomegranate flowers are bright red and have a diameter of 3 cm with 3-7 petals. Some varieties of pomegranate trees deliberately planted only to enjoy beautiful flowers.

 

Characteristics of Pomegranate Fruit

Punica granatum Fruit
Source : flickr.com/Delphine Gimbert

Pomegranates are orange, red, or purple (depending on variety). Round shape, between 15-25 cm in diameter, and hard fruit skin. At the bottom of the fruit, there is a crown that is often a gathering place for insects. The number of seeds in pomegranates varies from 200 to about 1,000 or more.

 

Characteristics of Pomegranate Trees

Punica granatum Tree
Source : flickr.com/Museu de Ciências

Pomegranate trees grow to form shrubs or small trees with a height of 5-7 meters, have several long branches, and the tree can live more than 200 years.

Pomegranate trees are often planted for fruit harvesting, or as ornamental trees. The tree can also grow in arid regions with hot tropical climates. In wetter areas, pomegranate trees are vulnerable to fungal diseases.

In addition to the pomegranate which produces edible fruit, there are also other varieties with the Latin name Punica granatum var. nana It is a pomegranate variety of small fruit that is popularly grown as an ornamental or bonsai tree. Punica granatum var. Nana has also received an Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society.

 
HOW TO CULTIVATE POMEGRANATE TREE

Pomegranates grow easily in tropical climates, farmers often grow them from seeds. However, trees can also be propagated by graft or stem cuttings of medium size or old ones.

 

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