Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney, Australia

Punica granatum

The Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney - November

Common name Pomegranate
Scientific name Punica granatum L.
Family  Punicaceae (now generally included in Lythraceae)
Etymology

Genus: Punica - from the Latin, malum punicum, Pliny’s name for the fruit (meaning ‘Punic or Carthaginian apple’).

Species: granatum - from a Latin word for the pomegranate, derived from a term meaning ‘having numerous seeds’.

Distribution Originally a native of Persia and adjacent countries, but has been cultivated and naturalized in the Mediterranean countries at such an early date that it has even been considered indigenous to these countries.
Native habitat Areas of Southern Europe and the Middle East with hot, dry summers and winter rainfall.
Description Small tree or large shrub to 6 m high. Deciduous. Leaves opposite, clustered, entire, oblong to lanceolate, to 7.5 cm long. Glossy. Flowers to 4 cm across, solitary or clustered at ends of branches. Calyx purplish. Petals crinkled, orange-red. Fruit subglobose up to 12 cm in diameter. Brownish-yellow to purplish-red. Thick leathery skin and persistent calyx. Internal pulp full of seeds. Ripens mid to late autumn.
Flowering/fruiting Flowers in mid to late spring.

Location in Garden

Growing in beds 20 a, 55 b and 121. Click here for map of garden beds & grid.

 

Punica granatum has been a very fashionable garden plant for at least the last 150 years. Mentioned many times in the Bible, no English garden was complete without a pomegranate.

The leathery fruit wall was an important source of tannin in the preparation of leather and dyes. The edible pulp is part of the seed coat called the sarcotesta. The juice is fermented into grenadine, a cordial. The shape of King Solomon’s (and subsequent) crowns was inspired by the persistent calyx.

P. granatum has beautiful flowers in spring, very ornamental fruit during summer and nicely coloured foliage in autumn. Very drought hardy once established. There are many named fruiting cultivars as well as dwarf cultivars for ornamental use, and these are best propagated vegetatively.

Not generally known to be weedy.

Presently unavailable from the Growing Friends.

Punica-granatum-Plant-of-the-Month-for-the-Royal-Botanic-Garden