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18 May 2012

Pomegranate tree (Punica granatum)

  The pomegranate trees are currently in flower with their glossy green leaves and their bright orange coloured flowers.  You may like to read a previous blog post I wrote on the subject of the pomegranate fruit. 

The pomegranate, Punica granatum, is a fruit-bearing deciduous shrub or small tree growing between five and eight meters tall.
  
Description
The Punica granatum 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 four to five petals (often more on cultivated plants). Some fruitless varieties are grown for the flowers alone. The edible fruit is a berry and is between a lemon and a grapefruit in size, 5–12 cm in diameter with a rounded hexagonal shape, and has thick reddish skin. The exact number of seeds in a pomegranate can vary from 200 to about 1400 seeds, contrary to some beliefs that all pomegranates have exactly the same number of seeds.  Each seed has a surrounding water-laden pulp—the edible aril—ranging in color from white to deep red or purple. The seeds are embedded in a white, spongy, astringent pulp.
 
 
Illustration by Otto Wilhelm Thomé, 1885
 
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