Punica granatum L. - Pomegranate

Taxonomic position.

Family Punicaceae Horan., genus Punica L.


Punica nana L., P. spinosa Lam., P. florida Salisb., P. grandiflora Hort.

Morphology and biology.

Deciduous tree, up to 5 m tall, frequently occurring in the form of a shrub (near the uppermost border of its habitat in the mountains of Western Kopet Dagh, it may sometimes acquire a decumbent habit). Branches are often spiky. Leaves are almost opposite, often connivent in bunches, elongated, oblong-lanceolate, 2-8 cm in length, obtuse, smooth-edged, leathery and glossy. Flowers are axillary, large, 2-4.5 cm in diameter. The calyx is bell-shaped, leathery, reddish, with 5-8 lobes. Petals are fiery red. Stamens are numerous. Fruits are up to 10 cm in diameter, spherical, berry-like, with a leathery pericarp, varying in color from pale yellow to scarlet. Seeds are numerous, faceted, with juicy cover. Entomophilous. Ornito-, zoo- and anthropochore. Capable of producing abundant root ramification. Propagated mainly by grafting but also by seed and layers. Blossoms in May/June/July; bears fruit in September/October. In favorable years, a second flowering sometimes occurs. 2n=16.


Occurs in the Caucasus (Southern Daghestan, Transcaucasia, Talysh); Middle Asia (Pamir-Altai: southern slopes and southeastern spurs in the Darvaz Range, Pyandzh River basin; Karategin and Gissar Ranges: basins of the Rivers Tupalang, Shirkent, Obizarang and Kafirnigan; western Kopet Dagh: along the Rivers Sumbar and Chandyr); Southern Europe; Asia Minor; Iran; and Afghanistan.


Xeromesophyte. Photophilous. Grows predominantly in the lower mountain belt and penetrates into the middle belt (mainly at elevations of 120-600 m, while on the western spurs of the Gissar Mountains, it may grow as high as 1,800 m above sea level). Occurs as single plants and in small groups on southward, fine-earth and rubbly mountainsides, in warm enclosed ravines, on pebbly banks and sandy alluvia in river valleys. Develops better under sufficient moistening in habitats with a closely adjacent groundwater table, near springs, on rocky slopes - in places of moisture condensation. Occasional calciphyte. Common as an admixture in sparse deciduous xerophyte forests.

Utilization and economic value.

Food, industrial (tanning and dyeing), ornamental and medicinal plant; valuable for horticulture because of its fruit. They are eaten fresh as table fruits, while their juice is used as a dressing in various recipes, and in either fresh or processed (Granadine) drinks. The fruits are a source of citric acid. Leathery pericarp is used to make a tanning agent for currying leather (morocco) and dyeing fabric. There are ornamental forms with double flowers. It is an ancient crop known to Egyptians and Hebrews. In Babel, Mesopotamia, it was cultivated more than 5,000 years ago.


Brezhnev D.D., Korovina O.N. 1981. Wild relatives of cultivated plants in the flora of the USSR. Leningrad: Kolos, pp. 329-330 (in Russian).
Grossgeim A.A. 1962. Flora of the Caucasus. Vol. 6. Moscow/Leningrad: Publishing House of the USSR Academy of Sciences, p. 230. (in Russian).
Sokolov S.I., Svjaseva O.A., Kubli V.A. 1986. Areas of distribution of trees and shrubs in the USSR. Vol. 3. Leningrad: Nauka, pp. 103. (in Russian).
Vulf E.V., Maleyeva O.F. 1969. Worldwide resources of useful plants. Reference book. Leningrad: Nauka, 563 p. (in Russian).

© I.G. Chukhina

Copyright on the picture belongs to K. Tkachenko.

Web design —
Kelnik studios