ABOUT POMEGRANATE

Punica granatum L.

Relatives: Similar in many ways to Rosaceae (Rose), but the structure of the fruits and flowers are different

The Pomegranate is native to Persia, and is one of the oldest edible fruits known to man. It was introduced into California by the first Spanish settlers when Mission San Diego was founded in 1769. By 1859, a mere 90 years later, 1,771 bearing and 2,745 non-bearing trees in the state, and by 1930 there were over 110,000! Of those earliest cultivars, 'Spanish Ruby' was the early favorite, and later a variety named 'Sweet Fruited' was enjoyed. 'Wonderful' eventually developed into one of the best cultivars for North America.

Historically, The Punicaceae family is quite small, literally having just two species: one is endemic to the Middle East and to India, and the other is confined to to the island of Socotra in the Arabian Sea. The fruit is most ancient, with references to it found in: ancient Chinese texts, the Bible, the Babylonian Talmud and Greek writings.

DESCRIPTION

Botanically a berry, the fruit has a thick and leathery rind and is therefore somewhat inconvenient to eat. Actually, some have found the taste to be quite insipid, but that is not the case for our neighbors and friends here at Rabbit Ridge Nursery. Contains good levels of Vitamins C, B6, and K, and contains good levels of Ellagic Acid, an anti oxidant and connective tissue strengthener.

Pomegranates are a many seeded fruit about the size of a large orange, with a tough reddish-purple or reddish orange skin (There are also yellow, green and white varieties). The hundreds of small red edible seeds are surrounded by a reddish, juicy, jelly-like tangy pulp. Pomegranates are native to western Asia, but are now grown widely in Mediterranean countries, China and Japan.
Leaves: Usually deciduous, they are most glossy, opposite, rather long and a middle green in color.
Flowers: Long lasting, bell shaped and scarlet red in color. They are self-fertile, and rely on pollination by insects and Hummingbirds.
Fruit: Varies from pink, to pinkish red, to a very deep red. The interior is sectioned with many seeds in each compartment, and with each seed encased in juicy sacs. Young trees need occasional pruning for the first three years for shape; tip pruning these first three years has proven to pay dividends in the future by encouraging lateral branching. Watch for suckers and always remove them.

The Angel Red Pomegranate is a new variety with some unique qualities that make it the very "Best" comer to the pomegranate world. It matures in early September, bears heavy crops, has soft seeds that can be chewed and eaten, and has a vivid red color. This pomegranate also has the highest juice content per fruit, as shown by the study chart above. The high juice content is good news for all of us who love Pomegranates, but the greatest is the soft seeds which you no longer have to spit out, but can eat, flesh and juice and all.


Pomegranates are unique fruits, and they have no close relatives. There is disagreement among taxonomists as to what family they belong to, and they are frequently placed in an order of their own, Granateae.

CULTIVATION

Pomegranates require plenty of summer heat, yet they can somehow easily manage to withstand very low temperatures, which makes them ideal for North Carolina as we certainly have the high summer heat but only occasionally long lasting freezing temperatures in the winter months. We have found that generally the warmer the growing climate, the sweeter the juice.

Prune your pomegranate into either a tree shape or a bush shape, depending on your wants or desires. Tip prune every branch as fruit sets on new wood and you want a lot of new wood. Prune out any crossing branches, dead branches, and be alert for any suckers that grow around the base of the plant- remove all suckers.
Needs only a modest amount of chilling hours, and is reasonably drought tolerant. However, young trees will definitely benefit from regular watering during the hot summer growing season. Mature trees rarely need attention. Actually makes an interesting and useful pot tree for the patio or deck.

CULTIVARS

All Pomegranates sold by Rabbit Ridge Nursery are either on their own root or grafted onto Provence Quince Rootstock, are low chill, and will do very well in our Climatic Zone. Rabbit Ridge Nursery currently carries the following Cultivars of Pomegranate; use the following Symbols in the BLOOM TIME tab on each Cultivar for more specific information:

SF means Self Fertile
@@ means grafted onto its own Rootstock

(Click on Pomegranate Variety to link to that Pomegranate)