Punica granatum: Pomegranate

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The pomegranate, botanical name Punica granatum, is a fruit-bearing deciduous shrub or small tree growing between 5–8 meters [16–26 ft] tall.

The pomegranate is widely considered to have originated in Iran and has been cultivated since ancient times. Today, it is widely cultivated throughout the Mediterranean region of southern Europe, the Middle East and Caucasus region, northern Africa and tropical Africa, the Indian subcontinent, Central Asia and the drier parts of southeast Asia. Introduced into Latin America and California by Spanish settlers in 1769, pomegranate is also cultivated in parts of California and Arizona.

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In the Northern Hemisphere, the fruit is typically in season from September to February. In the Southern Hemisphere, the pomegranate is in season from March to May.

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The pomegranate has been mentioned in many ancient texts, notably in Babylonian texts, the Book of Exodus, the Homeric Hymns and the Quran. In recent years, it has become more common in the western commercial markets.

Pomegranates are used in cooking, baking, juices, smoothies and alcoholic beverages, such as martinis and wine.

Photos: Atlanta Botanical GardenAtlantaGeorgiaUSA  [20130913]

Source: Wikipedia

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