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 Punica granatum subsp. var.  Pomegranate
Pomegranate fruit
Habit: shrub
Height: to
Width: to
6m9m 3m5m
Height: 6 m to 9 m
Width: 3 m to 5 m
Lifespan: perennial
Origin: Iran to the western Himalaya
Exposure: sun
Water: moist, moderate, dry
Features: flowers, edible, fruit
Hidden fields, interally pass variables to right place
Minimum Temp: 0°C273.15 K
32 °F
491.67 °R
USDA Zones: 9 to 11
Sunset Zones: 5-31, warmer 32
Flower features: red, double
Lythraceae > Punica granatum var. ,

Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Punica granatum, Linn. Pomegranate. A large deciduous shrub or small tree, with oblong or obovate, obtuse, entire, glabrous and more or less shining lvs. : fls. orange-red, showy; calyx tubular, the short lobes persistent on the top of the fr. (as on an apple); petals inserted between the lobes; ovary imbedded in the calyx-tube (or receptacle-tube), comprising several locules or compartments in two series (one series above the other), ripening into a large, juicy, many-seeded pome-like berry. Persia to N. W. India.—A handsome plant, with showy fls. 1 in. across in summer. Hardy as far. north as Washington and Baltimore. It is also grown as a conservatory plant, blooming in winter as well as in summer. For ornament, the double-flowering kinds are the most popular (F.S. 13:1385, as P. Granatum Legrellei). There are many varieties. The treatment of the fruit-bearing varieties is discussed under Pomegranate. Var. nana, Hort. (P. nana, Linn.). Dwarf Pomegranate. Seldom growing higher than a man, and usually treated as a pot-plant in the N. It is the best kind for greenhouse use. The double-fld. form is most common. It is as hardy as the species, and is suitable for outdoor work where the climate is not too severe. On the Pacific Coast it is grown as a hedge-plant as far north as San Francisco. Both this and the species are easily grown by cuttings of dormant wood, as currants are, but the cuttings should be started indoors with some heat.

The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.

Growth Habits: The pomegranate is a neat, rounded shrub or small tree that can grow to 6-9m, but is more typically to 2-4m in height. A dwarf variety, var. nana (syn. Punica nana), only 1-2m tall is often grown, and breeds true from seed. 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 old. The growth rate declines after about 15 years, however.

Foliage: The pomegranate has glossy, leathery leaves that are narrow and lance-shaped, 3-8cm long and 0.8-2.5cm broad, with a very short petiole; they are arranged in opposite pairs, occasionally sub-alternate.

Flowers: The flowers are attractive, usually scarlet, occasionally pink, white or variegated, 3cm across, and normally have five petals (to eight or more in some cultivars) with a crumpled texture 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.

Fruit: The fruit is nearly round, 6-12cm diameter, crowned at the apex 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 flavour. The pomegranate may begin to bear one year after planting out, but 2½ to 3 years is more common. Under suitable conditions the fruit should mature from 5–7 months after bloom.

Adaptation: The Pomegranate is native to southwestern Asia, but has been cultivated for thousands of years west across the Mediterranean region in southern Europe and northern Africa. It prefers 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 about -10° to -12°C. In Europe, pomegranates can be grown outside as far north as southern England, and in North America as far north as southern Utah and Washington D.C., but they seldom set fruit in these areas. The tree adapts well to container culture and will sometimes fruit in a greenhouse. The dwarf var. nana is less hardy, being damaged by temperatures below about -5°C.

Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Pomegranate is the vernacular of Punica granatum, a small tree of southern Asia, grown both for ornament and for its edible fruit. It is somewhat grown in the open in the southern states, and also as a pot- or tub-plant in greenhouses in the North.

The natural habit of the pomegranate is of rather bushy growth, but by careful training a tree 15 to 20 feet may be produced. This, however, seems possible only in the southern sections of the United States. A great many shoots spring from the base of the plant; these should be cut out, as it is contended that they withdraw the nutriment which should go to the fruit- bearing stems. The branches are slender, twiggy, nearly cylindrical, somewhat thorny. The leaves are lanceolate, long, narrow, glossy green and with red veins. The flowers have a red thick fleshy calyx, crowned with bright scarlet crumpled petals and numerous stamens. The fruit is globular, topped with a crown-like calyx, and the interior consists of numerous seeds enveloped in a bright crimson or pink-colored pulp, seeds being arranged in segments, separated by a thin skin, and very acid in the typical variety. A cooling acescent drink, known as granadine, is made from the pulpy seeds, with the addition of water and sugar. This is much used in the South, and in certain parts of Europe, and is especially grateful in fevers. This plant will succeed as far as the 35th degree of latitude north, but during extreme cold periods, the plants are sometimes injured by cold in that latitude. For higher latitudes it should be cultivated in tubs, and given a conservatory during winter. For some sections of the South it is used for hedges. The fruit begins to ripen about September and can be kept for several weeks.

The pomegranate is multiplied by hardwood cuttings planted in open ground during February, or by layers and also by softwood cuttings during summer. As the plant forms many shoots, these are often used, as they usually are provided with rootlets. In Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, and some of the other southern states, pomegranates are grown commercially and are shipped to the northern and eastern markets. There is a growing demand for the fruit of the pomegranate.

Tne pomegranate is supposed to have been introduced into southern Europe by the Carthaginians, whose Latin name of "Punicus" was thus given and derived. A reference is also found in the sacred scriptures. Theophrastus described it 300 years before the Christian era, and Pliny considered it one of the most valuable fruits, both as to its beauty and medicinal properties. The bark of the root is a well-known astringent employed in therapeutics, in dysentery and diarrhea; the rind of the fruit, when boiled, has for many generations past been the remedy for tenia, and a jet-black smooth writing ink is also made of it.

The pomegranate is a native of some parts of Asia, and by some botanical authors is said to be found also in northern Africa and China. Although of such ancient origin and cultivation, there are but few varieties of the fruit-bearing section disseminated in this country and Europe, but, according to Firminger, several fine varieties have been grown in Bengal from seed brought from Cabul, one being seedless, another growing to the size of "an ordinary human head" and still another as large as a small shaddock.

Varieties grown for fruit

Acid, or Wild. — With a sharp acid pulp: fruit often very large, from 3 to 4 inches diameter and with a bright-colored rind.

Dwarf. — A form of the Acid variety, of very low and bushy growth: flowers single: fruit from l 1/2-2inches diameter; pulp very acid. This can be grown in a pot, as it fruits very abundantly.

Paper Shell. — Very large, juicy, very sweet, and of excellent quality; skin thin, pale yellow with crimson cheek; sides crimson: fine grower: good bearer and ships well.

Rhoda. — Fruit crimson, of large size; skin thin but tough; crisp, sweet, and of exquisite flavor.

Spanish Ruby, or Purple-seeded. — As cultivated in Louisiana, seems to be only a form of the Subacid. Fruit large and bright-colored with deep crimson pulp. It is considered the best of its class.

Subacid. — Differs only from the Sweet in the more acidulated pulp.

Sweet. — Fruit usually somewhat smaller than the Acid and with a darker-colored rind; pulp sweet.

Wonderful. — This is said to be the largest of all pomegranates: fruit sometimes 5 inches diameter, bright crimson; pulp highly colored; very juicy; fine flavor: ripens early: good shipper.

All these varieties are very ornamental from their abundant yield of bright scarlet flowers, which are produced upon the extremities of the young branches of the same year's growth. When the plant is grown in a tree form, the branches should be annually cut back after the leaves drop.

Varieties grown for ornament (non-fruiting).

Double Dwarf, or Punica nana racemosa. — Of dwarf growth, with bright scarlet double flowers, which are borne m clusters. This is especially desirable for growing in pots, as its flowers are abundant and lasting.

Double Red. — With a very large calyx, from which protrude numerous large bright scarlet petals, larger than those of the common single type. These are produced in abundance during summer and fall and resemble a bright scarlet pompon.

Double Variegated, or Legrellei. — A very handsome variety with very large flowers, the petals being striped and mottled with vellow and scarlet. Double red blooms will frequently be found on the same stem with variegated blooms. As this is a sport of the Double Red it frequently reverts.

Double Yellow. — Similar to the above in shape of flower, but latter are of a pale yellow color.

Double White. — Form of flower is similar to Double Red, but color is pure white.

The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.


Illustration by Otto Wilhelm Thomé, 1885.
Pomegranate tree
Pomegranate fruit, opened

Location: Pomegranates should be placed in the sunniest, warmest part of the yard or orchard for the best fruit, although they will grow and flower in part shade. The attractive foliage, flowers and fruits of the pomegranate, as well as its smallish size make it a excellent landscaping plant.

Soil: The pomegranate does best in well-drained ordinary soil, but also thrives on calcareous or acidic loam as well as rock strewn gravel.

Irrigation: Once established, pomegranates can take considerable drought, but for good fruit production they may need to be irrigated. To establish new plants they should be watered every two to four weeks during the dry season. The plants are tolerant of moderately saline water and soil conditions.

Fertilizing: In the West, the trees are given 60–120g applications of ammonium sulfate or other nitrogen fertilizer the first two springs. After that very little fertilizer is needed, although the plants respond to an annual mulch of rotted manure or other compost.

Pruning: Plants can be cut back when they are about 0.5-1m high. From this point allow four or five shoots to develop, which should be evenly distributed around the stem to keep the plant well balanced. These should start about 30cm from the ground, giving a short but well-defined trunk. Any shoots which appear above or below can be removed as should any suckers. Since the fruits are borne only at the tips of new growth, it is recommended that for the first three years the branches be judiciously shortened annually to encourage the maximum number of new shoots on all sides, prevent straggly development and achieve a strong well framed plant. After the thirrd year, only suckers and dead branches are removed.

Harvest: The fruits are ripe when they have developed a distinctive colour and make a metallic sound when tapped. The fruits must be picked before over maturity when they tend to crack open, particularly when rained on. The pomegranate is equal to the apple in having a long storage life. It is best maintained at a temperature of 1° to 5°C and can be kept for a period of 7 months within this temperature range and at 80 to 85% relative humidity without shrinking or spoiling. The fruits improve in storage, becoming juicier and with more flavour.


The pomegranate can be raised from seed but may not come true. Cuttings root easily and plants from them bear fruit after about 3 years. Cuttings 30-50cm long should be taken in late winter from mature, one-year old wood. The leaves should be removed and the cuttings treated with rooting hormone and inserted about two-thirds their length into the soil or into some other warm rooting medium. Plants can also be air-layered but grafting is seldom successful.

Pests and diseases

Pomegranates are relatively free of most pests and diseases. Minor problems are leaf and fruit spot and foliar damage by white flies, thrips, mealybugs and scale insects. The roots are seldom bothered by rodents but deer will browse on the foliage.


  • 'Balegal' - Originated in San Diego, Calif. Large, roundish fruit, 8cm diameter. Somewhat larger than 'Fleshman'. Skin pale pink, lighter then 'Fleshman'. Flesh slightly darker than 'Fleshman', very sweet.
  • 'Cloud' - From the Univ. of Calif., Davis pomegranate collection. Medium-sized fruit with a green-red colour. Juice sweet and white.
  • 'Crab' - From the Univ. of Calif., Davis pomegranate collection. Large fruit have red juice that is tart but with a rich flavour. A heavy bearing tree.
  • 'Early Wonderful' - Large, deep-red, thin-skinned, delicious fruit. Ripens about 2 weeks ahead of 'Wonderful'. Medium-sized bush with large, orange-red fertile flowers. Blooms late, very productive.
  • 'Fleshman' - Originated in Fallbrook, Calif. Large, roundish fruit, about 8cm diameter, pink outside and inside. Very sweet, seeds relatively soft, quality very good.
  • 'Francis' - Originated in Jamaica via Florida. Large, sweet, split-resistant fruit. Prolific producer.
  • 'Granada' - Originated in Lindsay, Calif. Introduced in 1966. Bud mutation of 'Wonderful'. Fruit resembles Wonderful, but displays a red crown while in the green state, darker red in colour and less tart. Ripens one month earlier than 'Wonderful'. Flowers also deeper red. Tree identical to 'Wonderful'.
  • 'Green Globe' - Originated in Camarillo, Calif. Large, sweet, aromatic, green-skinned fruit. Excellent quality.
  • 'Home' - From the Univ. of Calif., Davis pomegranate collection. The fruit is variable yellow-red, with light pink juice that is sweet and of rich flavour. Some bitterness.
  • 'King' - From the Univ. of Calif., Davis pomegranate collection. Medium to large fruit, somewhat smaller than 'Balegal' and 'Fleshman'. Skin darker pink to red. Flavour very sweet. Has a tendency to split. Bush somewhat of a shy bearer.
  • 'Legrelliae' - Flowers double, salmon-pink variegated with white; sterile. Grown for its flower display.
  • 'Phoenicia' ('Fenecia') - Originated in Camarillo, Calif. Large fruit, 4-5 inches in diameter, mottled red-green skin. Flavour sweet, seeds relatively hard.
  • 'Plena' - Flowers large, double, bright orange-red; sterile. Widely grown for its flower display.
  • 'Sweet' - Fruit is lighter in colour than 'Wonderful', remains slightly greenish with a red blush when ripe. Pink juice, sweeter than most other cultivars. Excellent in fruit punch. Trees highly ornamental, bears at an early age, productive.
  • 'Utah Sweet' - Very sweet, good quality fruit. Pink skin and pulp. Seeds notably softer than those of Wonderful and other standard cultivars. Attractive pinkish-orange flowers.
  • 'Wonderful' - Originated in Florida. First propagated in California in 1896. Large, deep purple-red fruit. Rind medium thick, tough. Flesh deep crimson, juicy and of a delicious vinous flavour. Seeds not very hard. Better for juicing than for eating out of hand. Plant is vigorous and productive. Leading commercial variety in California.



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