Pomegranate, Punica granatum

shrub of the family Punicaceae

Origin: Europe, Middle east.
Hardiness: the Pomegranate needs heat and appreciates a sunny position. It does not grow in the cold regions, just as the orange tree and the lemon tree, unless it is storedin a greenhouse (or veranda) in winter. Unusually, it supports cold until -12 ° or 10°F (zone 8).
Height: 4 m tall.
Species: Punica granatum 'Flora pleno' or Pomegranate with double flowers (photos to the left, got from the garden of Luxembourg, in Paris) is a very decorative species. This tree does not produce fruit. It was introduced into Europe in the XIVth century.
Shape: rounded.
Bark: grey, ruddy on the young branches.
Foliage deciduous: oblong, opposite and simple leaves and lanceolate, entire margin or a bit curled, and of a joyful green.
Flowers: red, funnel form, blooming from May till September. They seem to spring from a calyx, tough, also red, and divided into 5-7 lobes; petals, 5-7, are oval and fall early, many stamens are inserted on the tube of the calyx.
Fruit: the pomegranate fruit distinguishes itself by its tough envelope, in clear colour, containing pink, acidulous seeds.
Uses: the astringent bark is used for the tanning of skins and in medicine (substance against tapeworm). The fruit contains acidulous seeds, edible in jelly or in sorbet. The sap is refreshing, diuretic and sweetening.
Pruning : March, October, November.
Legends and traditions:
In India, the pomegranate is an attribute of Kubera the God of wealth and of Hariti who holds a pomegranate at the hand as symbol of fecundity.
In China and in Vietnam, the pomegranate fruit is the symbol of fecundity and of prosperity because of its many seeds.
In Greek mythology, the Pomegranate is Aphrodite's symbol. The Pomegranate is born when the goddess sets foot in Cyprus.
In the Middle Ages, it is an attribute of the Virgin. The medicine of the Middle Ages linked a remedial property to a part of human the body, by resemblance. So, the pomegranate was supposed to cure the troubles of teeth, because, cut, it lokks like a mouth where teeth would be seeds (!).


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