The pomegranate is a fruit tree known under the scientific name of Punica Granatum whose fruit is called pomegranate. In fact, the term “granatum” comes to mean something like “having grains”, which is precisely what happens with the pomegranate.
The pomegranate is from North Africa and Western Asia. It belongs to the Lythraceae family and to the Punica genus of which there are only two species: Punica protopunica from the island of Socotra and Punica granatum from the Mediterranean and Southwest Asia.
This tree is typical of tropical or semi- desert climates , so you will already be deducing that the pomegranate accepts heat better than cold. In addition, they need a soil that retains moisture, but the truth is that they are trees that are very resistant to periods of drought.
The pomegranate is a dense, deciduous tree that reaches up to 6 meters in height, with an irregular crown. Simple leaves, opposite, petiolate, oblong, entire, shiny, glabrous and deciduous, with thorns.
The pomegranate is not characterized by being a tall tree. In fact, many horticulturists define it as a bush because it does not exceed 6 meters in height. This little outstanding character and the beauty of its fruits make the pomegranate an ornamental tree used in many cities to decorate sidewalks or parks.
flowers and fruit
The pomegranate flower appears from May to August. It is a solitary flower, 3 to 4 centimeters, large and showy, reddish in color that has between 6 and 8 petals.
The fruit, 7 to 12 cm in diameter, with a rounded and hexagonal shape, is characterized by having a strong shell that serves to protect the red grains inside (seeds). The edible part is the seeds and their surrounding shell. They ripen in autumn, from September to November in the northern hemisphere, often the contrast between the dryness of summer and the heavy rains of autumn cracks the fruit of pomegranates and various fungi damage them. Be careful because if you take too long to harvest, the pomegranates will open naturally and your fruits will be eaten by birds and insects in the area.
In short, the pomegranate is a fruit tree with a lot of resistance and very easy to grow, but it must be taken into account that there are some varieties that do not bear fruit. In any case, the varieties of pomegranate that do not bear fruit serve as a decorative tree for gardens and public lands since it is not a tree that requires great care because it is very resistant to heat and drought, it is used in many places. Do you decide to grow a pomegranate on your land?
Description of the pomegranate
Calyx in the shape of a fleshy urn, open like a star with 5 to 7 points. Between each two of its lobes a red petal is born, rounded and very thin. The petals constitute the red corolla. Androecium with numerous stamens with red filaments and yellow anthers.
The gynoecium has an inferior ovary that when ripe gives rise to the 5 to 9 cm pomegranate, an edible fruit , unique within the plant kingdom, the pomegranate is of the baluster type, it is a large, globose and indehiscent fruit that when ripe cracks and opens irregularly.
The fruit has a leathery cover that ranges from yellow to red colors. This surround is formed by the pericarp and the walls of the receptacle and has many seeds, each one of them surrounded by a very juicy, translucent and red or pink pulp. It is a dry fruit that contains fleshy seeds.
cultivation of pomegranate
It is one of the oldest fruit crops. It is a plant demanding heat in summer, however in winter, without leaves, it can resist up to 15º below zero. It is also very resistant to drought but needs irrigation, it supports a certain degree of salinity, to give good productions. It adapts to all types of floors. The work of cultivation, tilling, weeding, pruning, fruit thinning, harvesting are normal in fruit growing.
Uses of pomegranate
Normally the bark of the root is used and occasionally of the trunk, the fruits are also used. The root and trunk barks contain alkaloids derived from piperidine, especially peletierins, and tropinone derivatives, especially pseudo-peletierin. They also contain mineral salts and abundant tannins (such as ellagitannin). The rind of the fruits contains abundant tannins.
It has been used as a vermifuge, although it sometimes causes intolerance . It is also used as antidiarrheal, antihemorrhagic. Traditionally it was used to lower fever in flu-like processes and against inflammatory tonsils. It has anthelmintic action, above all it is especially effective against tapeworms. Depending on the dose, it causes paralysis or death of the tapeworm. It also has astringent, antidiarrheal and antihemorrhagic action.
The root and trunk bark is toxic due to the presence of alkaloids. May cause nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and vision problems. It should be avoided in cases of gastritis, gastroduodenal ulcer, during pregnancy and lactation.
It is one of the typical sweet fruits of autumn . The pomegranate is often used in the preparation of desserts; it is very showy, providing an elegant touch to the fruit salad. It also goes perfectly with ice cream, yogurt and cheese. An example is the pomegranate glass with orange blossom and yogurt ice cream and the pomegranate with sweet wine. Jams and jams can also be prepared with pomegranate seeds.
The pomegranate is also an ingredient in creative cuisine . Thus it can be prepared in a salad, adding the pomegranate grains in green salads or salads based on potatoes, white beans or chickpeas. It goes well with dried fruits, such as pine nuts, sunflower seeds and tofu. It can also add a touch of color and flavor as a garnish for meat and fish.
In the Middle East (Syria, Lebanon) pomegranate seeds are traditionally used to stuff poultry and also to make muhammara, an elaborate sauce whose main ingredients are red peppers and walnuts or fesenjan, based on dried fruits (almonds, raisins) fried, onion and chicken meat.
In India , pomegranate seeds are used to prepare chutneys or are dried to be used as a condiment in certain curries.
The juice of the pomegranate is grenadine , very popular in North Africa and Middle Eastern countries. Grenadine is also used as an ingredient in some cocktails.
The pomegranate is also used in gardening, as a natural shrub or as a bonsai.
- The Jews believe that it is a symbol of truth, since they claim that the pomegranate has 613 seeds, the same commandments that the Torah has. That is why it appears in Christian religious decorations (which inherited this connotation) and is eaten in numerous Greek celebrations.
- Persephone eats a pomegranate and it prevents her from escaping Hades forever.
- Symbol of the goddess Hera.
- In Armenia, Java and China it represents fertility.
- It symbolizes power, since when it is opened it has the shape of a crown. That is why the Egyptians were buried with pomegranates and figure in the Hebrew representations of their kings.
Robert Asprin, APD is a non-dieting Accredited Practicing Dietitian passionate about inspiring positive changes in eating and lifestyle behaviors to help improve health while nurturing relationships with food and body.