A pomegranate (Punica granatum) is a fruit-bearing deciduous shrub or small tree growing to between five and eight meters tall. The pomegranate is native to the Iranian Plateau, and has been cultivated in the Caucasus since ancient times.
It is widely cultivated throughout Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkey, India, the drier parts of southeast Asia, Indonesia, peninsular Malaysia, the Mediterranean and Southern Europe and tropical Africa. Introduced into Latin America and California by Spanish settlers in 1769, pomegranate is now cultivated in parts of California and Arizona for juice production.
In the Northern Hemisphere, the fruit is typically in season from September to February. In the Southern Hemisphere, it is in season from March to May.
An ancient fruit, pomegranate is mentioned in Europe as early as the Iron-Age Greek Mythology in the Homeric hymns. Yet, it has still to reach mainstream prominence as a consumer fruit in commercial markets of North America and the Western Hemisphere.
More than 500 cultivars of pomegranate have been named, but such fruits evidently have considerable synonymy in which the same genotype is named differently across regions of the world. Iran hosts a great genetic diversity of pomegranate and more than 760 Iranian genotypes are collected at Iranian national pomegranate collection in Yazd, Iran.
Several characteristics between pomegranate genotypes vary for identification, consumer preference, preferred use, and marketing, the most important of which are fruit size, exocarp color (ranging from yellow to purple, with pink and red most common), aril color (ranging from white to red), hardness of seed, maturity, juice content and its acidity, sweetness, and astringency.
See Also: florists ca, gift baskets, china flowers