Pomegranate

pomegranateThe pomegranate (/ˈpɒmᵻɡrænᵻt/), botanical name Punica granatum, is a fruit-bearing deciduous shrub or small tree in the family Lythraceae that grows between 5 and 8 m (16 and 26 ft) tall.

In the Northern Hemisphere, the fruit is typically in season from September to February, and in the Southern Hemisphere from March to May.

The pomegranate originated in the region of modern-day Iran and has been cultivated since ancient times throughout the Mediterranean region and northern India. It was introduced into America (Spanish America) in the late 16th century and California by Spanish settlers in 1769.

Today, it is widely cultivated throughout the Middle East and Caucasus region, north Africa and tropical Africa, the Indian subcontinent, Central Asia, the drier parts of southeast Asia, and parts of the Mediterranean Basin.  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.

P. granatum is grown for its fruit crop, and as ornamental trees and shrubs in parks and gardens. Mature specimens can develop sculptural twisted-bark multiple trunks and a distinctive overall form. 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 can be prone to root decay from fungal diseases. They can be tolerant of moderate frost, down to about −12 °C (10 °F).

Insect pests of the pomegranate can include the pomegranate butterfly Virachola isocrates and the leaf-footed bug Leptoglossus zonatus, and fruit flies and ants are attracted to unharvested ripe fruit. Pomegranate grows easily from seed, but is commonly propagated from 25– to 50-cm hardwood cuttings to avoid the genetic variation of seedlings. Air layering is also an option for propagation, but grafting fails. (Source: Wikipedia)

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