Pomegranate Trees leaves are opposite or sub-opposite, glossy, narrow oblong, entire,4 – 6 cm long and 1.5 – 3 cm broad. The flowers are red, 2 – 4 cm in diameter, with four to five petals sometimes more on commercially grown 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, despite some beliefs that all pomegranates have exactly the same number of seeds. Each seed of a pomegranate tree has a surrounding water-laden pulp – ranging in color from white to deep red or purple. The seeds are embedded in a white, spongy, astringent pulp.
Cultivating or Growing Pomegranates
Pomegranate is grown as a fruit crop plant, and as ornamental trees and shrubs in parks and gardens. Mature specimens can develop sculptural twisted bark that forms bushes and a distinctive overall form. Pomegranates are very drought tolerant, and can be grown in arid 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 are tolerant of moderate frost, 15 F. Pests (insects) of the pomegranate include the pomegranate butterfly (Virachola isocrates) and the leaf-footed bug (Leptoglossus zonatus). Pomegranate grows easily from seed, but is commonly propagated from 25–50 cm hardwood cuttings to avoid the genetic variation of seedlings. Air layering is also an option for propagation, but grafting fails.
Pomegranate nana is a dwarf variety of Punica granatum popularly planted as an ornamental plant in gardens and larger containers, and used as a bonsai specimen tree. It could well be a wild form with a distinct origin. The only other species in the genus Punica is the Socotran pomegranate (Punica protopunica), which is endemic to the island of Socotra. It differs in having pink (not red) flowers and smaller, less sweet fruit.
Pomegranate has more than 500 named cultivars, but the pomegranate evidently has considerable synonymy in which the same genotype is named differently across regions of the world.
Several characteristics between pomegranate pheno/genotypes vary for identification purposes, consumer preference, preferred usage, and marketing. The most important of which are fruit size, exo carp color (ranging from yellow to purple, with pink and red most common), aril color (ranging from red to white), seed hardness, time to maturity, juice content and its acidity, sweetness, and astringency.