Dec 2007

Vegetation Profile: Pomegranate

The Pomegranate (Punica granatum) is a fruit-bearing deciduous shrub or small tree growing to 5–8 m tall. The pomegranate is native to the region from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran to the Himalayas in northern India and has been cultivated and naturalized over the whole Mediterranean region and the Caucasus since ancient times. It is widely cultivated throughout Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, India, the drier parts of southeast Asia, Malaya, the East Indies, and tropical Africa. Introduced into Latin America and California by Spanish settlers in 1769, pomegranate is now cultivated mainly in the drier parts of California and Arizona for its fruits exploited commercially as juice products gaining in popularity since 2001.

While The Astronomer was eating grilled meatball sandwiches at the market in Phu Quoc, I picked up a pomegranate from a produce stand to enjoy later on the beach.

What’s most notable about the pomegranates in Phu Quoc are the color of the seeds. Unlike the deep red seeds found in pomegranates stateside, the ones in Phu Quoc are pale, pink and sometimes even clear. Another major difference is the taste. The pomegranates I’ve had in the past were pleasant, but very tart, while these were incredibly sweet and juicy (i.e. no sour face).

Phu Quoc pomegranates > American pomegranates.

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3 thoughts on “Vegetation Profile: Pomegranate

  1. Actually this light pink variety is also available in the states. My dad has a tree in his backyard… I love picking these every fall…=) yum!

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