Thursday, May 3, 2007

Pomegranate (Punica granatum)

Native from Iran to Northern India, I find it a bit strange that people refer to these as Chinese Apples (well, at least they did in the 1970's, when I first was introduced to them). According to a wikipedia entry , The name "pomegranate" is derived from Latin pomum ("apple") and granatus ("seeded"). If you've ever cut one open, you'll know why. But be careful - Pomegranate juice permanently stains!

Enjoy these photos I took today. If you click on them, the full size image should be displayed, and you can see more detail.

These photos show the various stages of the flower/fruit development. The first one shows a flower before it "opens up."

No more than a few days later, the flower will burst open, as shown here - it's ready for pollination. (If you click/zoom in, you can see the yellow pollen contrasted against the red petals.)

Above is the result you hope for: a developing pomegranate fruit, somewhere near a week old.

Even in Florida, where the Winter was quite warm this year, my pomegranate still lost its leaves (it is deciduous). I have a white variety, but it is quite young still. My friends at the Tampa Bay Chapter of Rare Fruit Council International made it for me from a clipping a few years back. It seems to be a slow grower (for me, anyway).

Well, that's all on the pomegranate until I can harvest some fruit. But before I save this post, I want to share one interesting thing I ran across when researching this fruit: There was an statistical analysis done on just how many seeds a pomegranate has. In their analysis, there was on average 613 seeds per fruit, which is (coincidentially) why Jewish tradition teaches the pomegranate is a symbol for righteousness - it is said to have 613 seeds corresponding with the 613 mitzvot, or commandments of the Torah. (amazing what a little can teach you)

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