Pomegranate (Punica proto-punica)

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This page last updated on 05/27/2017
(Fig. 01)

Picture Notes: On 05/27/2017, I visited Corn Creek Station for a short afternoon visit after going to the Paiute Powwow at nearby Snow Mountain.

Description: The pomegranate is native from Iran to the Himalayas in northern India and was cultivated and naturalized over the whole Mediterranean region since ancient times. It is widely cultivated throughout 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 this country it is grown for its fruits mainly in the drier parts of California and Arizona. The pomegranate is a small tree that can grow to 20 or 30 ft. 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. 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.
Its flowers are an attractive scarlet (Figs. 01 & 04), white or variegated and 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 (Figs. 02 & 03) is self-pollinated as well as cross-pollinated by insects. Cross-pollination increases the fruit set. Wind pollination is insignificant. Its fruit is nearly round, 2-1/2 to 5 in. wide fruit and 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 the fruit should mature some 5 to 7 months after bloom.

(Fig. 02)
(Fig. 03)
(Fig. 04)