Punica granatum Linn., Sp.Pl. 472. 1753. C.B. Clarke, l.c581; Aitch., Journ. Linn. Soc.18:59.1880;Talbot, For.Fl.68.1911(underLythraceae); Bailey Stand. Cyclop. Hort. 2861.1917; Parker, l.c; Borisova in Shishkin, Fl. URSS.15.553.1949; Backer & Heemstede, l.c; Nayyar, Gloss. Ind. Med.Pl.207.1956; Rech .f., l.c. ; Chamberlain, l.c.; Stewart, Ann.Cat.Vasc. Pl.W.Pak.& Kash. 501.1972.
Tree or shrub, l.5-5 m tall. Branches terete, opposite, branchlets usually ending in spines. Leaves glabrous, lustrous 19-35(-50) x 8-12 (-15) mm, oblong-lanceolate to obovate or elliptic, subpetiolate, entire, apex sub-actue to obtuse. Flowers scarlet red or white, conspicuous, 3 cm or more in length. Calyx 20-35 mm long, indented slightly above the middle, reddish, somewhat succulent; lobes 5-7,c. 8 mm long, triangular. Petals and stamens inserted at the throat of the calyx. Petals 16-20 x 10-12 mm, broadly obovate, wrinkled, alternating with the sepal lobes. Filaments c. 7 mm long, multiseriate, persistent. Ovary subglobose; style thick, c. 1 cm long, reddish; stigma simple; slightly bilobed. Fruit globose, 2-8 cm in diameter, sometimes persistent, pale red to scarlet, or brownish, partitioned by thin leathery yellow septa; the rind thick and coriaceous. Seeds red or pink, c. 10 mm long, angular, testa thick, fleshy, juicy.
Fl.Per.: April July. Fr. Per.: Sept.-Dec.
Type: Habitat in Spain, Italy, Mauritania.
Distribution: Mediterranean Europe, Africa, and Asia.
In Pakistan it grows wild from 1000-2000 m, throughout the western range, (Baluchistan, N. & S. Waziristan, NWFP, Kurram, Dir, Chitral); grows gregariously on dry limestone soils in the salt range and in the Hazara, becoming scarce futher east. Also found in the Kashmir and Himalayan areas.
Propogated by cuttings, pomegranate is grown for its edible fruit and as an ornamental plant. It exibits many varieties distinguished by the size of flower and fruit and taste of the fruit. Cultivated here in Baluchistan and NWFP areas is “Kandahari”, originally from Kandahar, Afghanistan, for its large, deep red, mostly acid-sweet pomegranates. A common non-fruiting ornamental form is Double Red, with a large showy calyx, c. 3 cm at the mouth and many red petals.
The fruit is delicious to eat; the juice used as a tonic in fevers. Dried seeds are used for adding taste to certain foods. Bark of the root and wood is used as a vermifuge for tapeworms; also used for diarrhoea and dysentry; a number of dyes can be obtained from it; black writing ink is also made from it.