Friday, 11 December 2015
Pomegranate - Punica granatum L.- Ροδιά
The pomegranate, botanical name Punica granatum, is a fruit-bearing deciduous shrub or small tree growing between 5 and 8 m (16 and 26 ft) tall.
In the Northern Hemisphere, the fruit is typically in season from September to February, and in the Southern Hemisphere from March to May. As intact arils or juice, pomegranates are used in cooking, baking, meal garnishes, juice blends, smoothies, and alcoholic beverages, such as cocktails and wine.
The pomegranate originated in the region of modern-day Iran and has been cultivated since ancient times throughout the Mediterranean region and northern India. It was introduced into America (Spanish America) in the late 16th century and California by Spanish settlers in 1769.
Today, it is widely cultivated throughout the Middle East and Caucasus region, north Africa and tropical Africa, the Indian subcontinent, Central Asia, and the drier parts of southeast Asia. It is also cultivated in parts of California and Arizona. In recent years, it has become more common in the commercial markets of Europe and the Western Hemisphere.
A shrub or small tree growing 6 to 10 m high, the pomegranate has multiple spiny branches, and is extremely long-lived, with some specimens in France surviving for 200 years. P. granatum leaves are opposite or subopposite, glossy, narrow oblong, entire, 3–7 cm long and 2 cm broad. The flowers are bright red and 3 cm in diameter, with three to seven petals. Some fruitless varieties are grown for the flowers alone.
The edible fruit is a berry, intermediate in size between a lemon and a grapefruit, 5–12 cm in diameter with a rounded shape and thick, reddish skin. The number of seeds in a pomegranate can vary from 200 to about 1400. Each seed has a surrounding water-laden pulp — the edible sarcotesta that forms from the seed coat — ranging in color from white to deep red or purple. The seeds are "exarillate", i.e., unlike some other species in the order, Myrtales, no aril is present. The sarcotesta of pomegranate seeds consists of epidermis cells derived from the integument. The seeds are embedded in a white, spongy, astringent membrane
P. granatum is grown for its fruit crop, and as ornamental trees and shrubs in parks and gardens. Mature specimens can develop sculptural twisted-bark multiple trunks and a distinctive overall form. Pomegranates are drought-tolerant, and can be grown in dry areas with either a Mediterranean winter rainfall climate or in summer rainfall climates. In wetter areas, they can be prone to root decay from fungal diseases. They can be tolerant of moderate frost, down to about −12 °C (10 °F).
Insect pests of the pomegranate can include the pomegranate butterfly Virachola isocrates and the leaf-footed bug Leptoglossus zonatus, and fruit flies and ants are attracted to unharvested ripe fruit. Pomegranate grows easily from seed, but is commonly propagated from 25– to 50-cm hardwood cuttings to avoid the genetic variation of seedlings. Air layering is also an option for propagation, but grafting fails. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Photos 10/11/2014 by George Konstantinou