1. Punica granatum Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 472. 1753.
石榴 shi liu
Shrubs or small trees, 2-3 m tall, glabrous. Branches and branchlets 4-angled, becoming terete with age, often terminating as indurate spines. Petiole 2-10 mm; leaf blade adaxially shiny, lanceolate, elliptic-oblanceolate, or oblong, 2-9 × 1-2 cm, base attenuate, apex obtuse or mucronate. Floral tube red-orange or pale yellow, campanulate-urceolate, 2-3 × 1-1.5 cm; sepals 5-9, erect, deltate. Petals 5-9, bright red-orange [or white], obovate, 1.5-3 × 1-2 cm, apex rounded or obtuse. Stamens numerous, included to exserted. Ovary 8-13-loculed, in 2 or 3 superposed layers, lower locules with axile placentation, upper ones with apparent parietal placentation. Fruit globose, leathery berries, variable in color, red to yellow-green or red-brown, 5-12 cm in diam., crowned by persistent sepals, irregularly dehiscent. Seeds obpyramidal within juicy sarcotestal layer, ruby-red, pink, or yellowish white. Fl. Mar-Jul. 2n = 16, 18.
Widely cultivated in China, and naturalized in W China [widespread in cultivation].
Punica granatum is grown for its showy flowers and edible fruit (pomegranate). It was probably introduced to China from C Asia or Europe during the Han dynasty (207 BCE to 220 CE).