Pomegranate – A Delicious Fruit

Botanical Name: Punica granatum
Family: Lythraceae
Genus: Punica
Species: P. granatum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Myrtales

Synonyms: Grenadier. Cortex granati. Ecorce de Granade. Granatwurzelrinde. Melogranato. Malicorio. Scorzo del Melogranati. Cortezade Granada.  Punica florida, Punica grandiflora, Punica nana. Punica spinosa.

Common Names: Pomegranate,  Dwarf Pomegranate ,  Granada (Spanish), Grenade (French). The name “pomegranate” derives from Latin pomum (“apple”) and granatus (“seeded”).

Parts Used: The root, bark, the fruits, the rind of the fruit, the flowers.

Habitat: Pomegranate is native to Western Asia. Now grows widely in Mediterranean countries, China and Japan. Today, it is widely cultivated throughout the Middle East and Caucasus region, north Africa and tropical Africa, the Indian subcontinent, Central Asia, and the drier parts of southeast Asia. It is also cultivated in parts of California and Arizona. In recent years, it has become more common in the commercial markets of Europe and the Western Hemisphere. It grows on the dry limestone soils to 2700 metres in the Himalayas.

Related Species: Punica proto-punica.

ADAPTATION:Pomegranates prefer a semi-arid mild-temperate to subtropical climate and are naturally adapted to regions with cool winters and hot summers. A humid climate adversely affects the formation of fruit. The tree can be severely injured by temperatures below 12° F. In the U. S. pomegranates can be grown outside as far north as southern Utah and Washington, D.C. but seldom set fruit in these areas. The tree adapts well to container culture and will sometimes fruit in a greenhouse.

The Pomegranate (Punica granatum) is a fruit-bearing deciduous shrub or small tree growing to 5–8 m tall. The pomegranate is native from Iran to the Himalayas in northern India and has been cultivated and naturalized over the whole Mediterranean region including Armenia since ancient times. It is widely cultivated throughout Iran, India and the drier parts of southeast Asia, Malaya, the East Indies and tropical Africa. The tree was introduced into California by Spanish settlers in 1769. In the United States, it is grown for its fruits mainly in the drier parts of California and Arizona.

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The leaves are opposite or sub-opposite, glossy, narrow oblong, entire, 3–7 cm long and 2 cm broad. The flowers are bright red, 3 cm in diameter, with five petals (often more on cultivated plants). The fruit is between an orange and a grapefruit in size, 7–12 cm in diameter with a rounded hexagonal shape, and has thick reddish skin and around 600 seeds. The edible parts are the seeds and the red seed pulp surrounding them. There are some cultivars which have been introduced that have a range of pulp colours like purple.

The only other species in the genus Punica, Socotra Pomegranate (Punica protopunica), is endemic to the island of Socotra. It differs in having pink (not red) flowers and smaller, less sweet fruit. Pomegranates are drought tolerant, and can be grown in dry areas with either a Mediterranean winter rainfall climate or in summer rainfall climates. In wetter areas, they are prone to root decay from fungal diseases. They are tolerant of moderate frost, down to about −10°C.

GROWTH HABIT:The pomegranate is a neat, rounded shrub or small tree that can grow to 20 or 30 ft., but more typically to 12 to 16 ft. in height. Dwarf varieties are also known. It is usually deciduous, but in certain areas the leaves will persist on the tree. The trunk is covered by a red-brown bark which later becomes gray. The branches are stiff, angular and often spiny. There is a strong tendency to sucker from the base. Pomegranates are also long-lived. There are specimens in Europe that are known to be over 200 years of age. The vigor of a pomegranate declines after about 15 years, however.
FOILAGE: The pomegranate has glossy, leathery leaves that are narrow and lance-shaped.


The attractive scarlet, white or variegated flowers are over an inch across and have 5 to 8 crumpled petals and a red, fleshy, tubular calyx which persists on the fruit. The flowers may be solitary or grouped in twos and threes at the ends of the branches. The pomegranate is self-pollinated as well as cross-pollinated by insects. Cross-pollination increases the fruit set. Wind pollination is insignificant.

The nearly round, 2-1/2 to 5 in. wide fruit is crowned at the base by the prominent calyx. The tough, leathery skin or rind is typically yellow overlaid with light or deep pink or rich red. The interior is separated by membranous walls and white, spongy, bitter tissue into compartments packed with sacs filled with sweetly acid, juicy, red, pink or whitish pulp or aril. In each sac there is one angular, soft or hard seed. High temperatures are essential during the fruiting period to get the best flavor. The pomegranate may begin to bear in 1 year after planting out, but 2-1/2 to 3 years is more common. Under suitable conditions the fruit should mature some 5 to 7 months after bloom.

Cultivation :
An easily grown plant, it prefers a well-drained fertile soil and succeeds in a hot dry position[166]. Requires a sheltered sunny position. Not very hardy in Britain, the pomegranate tolerates temperatures down to about -11°c, but it is best grown on a south facing wall even in the south of the country because it requires higher summer temperatures than are normally experienced in this country in order to ripen its fruit and its wood. The wood is also liable to be cut back by winter frosts when it is grown away from the protection of a wall[11]. Trees do not grow so well in the damper western part of Britain. Most plants of this species grown in Britain are of the dwarf cultivar ‘Nana’. This is hardier than the type but its fruit is not such good quality. This sub-species fruited on an east-facing wall at Kew in the hot summer of 1989. The pomegranate is often cultivated in warm temperate zones for its edible fruit, there are many named varieties. In Britain fruits are only produced after very hot summers. Plants often sucker freely. Flowers are produced on the tips of the current years growth. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus. Special Features:Not North American native, Attractive flowers or blooms.
Propagation :
Seed – sow spring in a greenhouse, preferably at a temperature of 22°c. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first 2 growing seasons. Plant out in late spring or early summer. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 4 – 5cm with a heel, June/July in a frame. Good percentage. Cuttings of mature wood, 20 – 25cm long, November in a warm greenhouse. Layering. Division of suckers in the dormant season. They can be planted out direct into their permanent positions, though we prefer to pot them up first and plant them out when they are growing away well in late spring or early summer


One pomegranate delivers 40% of an adult’s daily vitamin C requirement. It is also a rich source of folic acid and of antioxidants. Pomegranates are high in polyphenols. The most abundant polyphenols in pomegranate are hydrolysable tannins, particularly punicalagins, which have been shown in many peer-reviewed research publications to be the antioxidant responsible for the free-radical scavenging ability of pomegranate juice.

Many food and dietary supplement makers have found the advantages of using pomegranate extracts (which have no sugar, calories, or additives), instead of the juice, as healthy ingredients in their products. Many pomegranate extracts are essentially ellagic acid, which is largely a by-product of the juice extraction process. Ellagic acid has only been shown in published studies to absorb into the body when consumed as ellagitannins such as punicalagins.

In several human clinical trials, the juice of the pomegranate has been found effective in reducing several heart risk factors, including LDL oxidation, macrophage oxidative status, and foam cell formation, all of which are steps in atherosclerosis and heart disease. Tannins have been identified as the primary components responsible for the reduction of oxidative states which lead to these risk factors. Pomegranate has been shown to reduce systolic blood pressure by inhibiting serum angiotension converting enzyme (ACE).

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Research suggests that pomegranate juice may be effective against prostate cancer and osteoarthritis.

The juice can also be used as an antiseptic when applied to cuts[citation needed].

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin – Madison recently discovered the potential benefits of pomegranate juice in stopping the growth of lung cancer.

The juice of wild pomegranates yields citric acid and sodium citrate for pharmaceutical purposes. Pomegranate juice enters into preparations for treating dyspepsia and is considered beneficial in leprosy.

The bark of the stem and root contains several alkaloids including isopelletierine which is active against tapeworms. Either a decoction of the bark, which is very bitter, or the safer, insoluble Pelletierine Tannate may be employed. Overdoses are emetic and purgative, produce dilation of pupila, dimness of sight, muscular weakness and paralysis.

Because of their tannin content, extracts of the bark, leaves, immature fruit and fruit rind have been given as astringents to halt diarrhea, dysentery and hemorrhages. Dried, pulverized flower buds are employed as a remedy for bronchitis. In Mexico, a decoction of the flowers is gargled to relieve oral and throat inflammation. Leaves, seeds, roots and bark have displayed hypotensive, antispasmodic and anthelmintic activity in bioassay.

Constituents: The chief constituent of the bark (about 22 per cent) is called punicotannic acid. It also contains gallic acid, mannite, and four alkaloids, Pelletierine, Methyl-Pelletierine, Pseudo-Pelletierine, and IsoPelletierine.

The liquid pelletierine boils at 125 degrees C., and is soluble in water, alcohol, ether and chloroform.

The drug probably deteriorates with age.

The rind contains tannic acid, sugar and gum.

Pelletierine Tannate is a mixture of the tannates of the alkaloids obtained from the bark of the root and stem, and represents the taenicidal properties.
Medicinal Uses:
The seeds are demulcent. The fruit is a mild astringent and refrigerant in some fevers, and especially in biliousness, and the bark is used to remove tapeworm.

In India the rind is used in diarrhoea and chronic dysentery, often combined with opium.

It is used as an injection in leucorrhoea, as a gargle in sore throat in its early stages, and in powder for intermittent fevers. The flowers have similar properties.

As a taenicide a decoction of the bark may be made by boiling down to a pint 2 OZ. of bark that has been macerated in spirits of water for twenty-four hours, and given in wineglassful doses. It often causes nausea and vomiting, and possibly purging. It should be preceded by strict dieting and followed by an enema or castor oil if required.It may be necessary to repeat the dose for several days.

A hypodermic injection of the alkaloids may produce vertigo, muscular weakness and sometimes double vision.

The root-bark was recommended as a vermifuge by Celsus, Dioscorides and Pliny. It may be used fresh or dried.

Other Uses ; :
Dye; Hedge; Hedge; Ink; TanninWood.

A red dye is obtained from the flowers and also from the rind of unripened fruits. The dye can be red or black and it is also used as an ink. It is coppery-brown in colour . No mordant is required. A fast yellow dye is obtained from the dried rind. The dried peel of the fruit contains about 26% tannin. The bark can also be used as a source of tannin. The root bark contains about 22% tannin, a jet-black ink can be made from it. Plants are grown as hedges in Mediterranean climates. Wood – very hard, compact, close grained, durable, yellow. Used for making agricultural implements. A possible substitute for box, Buxus spp.

Landscape Uses:Border, Container, Foundation, Hedge, Massing, Superior hedge.

Known Hazards: Take recommended doses. Overdose symptoms include: gastric irritation, vomiting, dizziness, chills, vision disorders, collapse and death.

The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider



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