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(Punica granatum)

Other Names: Darum, Dulim, Dalim, Grenade, Granada, Granato, Granatäpple

The pomegranate is a shrub or small tree that can grow to 5m in warm climates. The pomegranate has glossy, thin leathery leaves that are narrow and lance-shaped. The fruit is between 7 and 10 cm in diameter with tough leathery outer skin 2 to 4 mm think. Each fruit contain hundreds of tightly packed kernels 4 – 5 mm wide and 6 to 8 mm long that are translucent when unripe that turn red when ripe and brown when overripe. Each kernel contain a small white seed at the centre.

One pomegranate delivers 40% of an adult's daily vitamin C requirement. It is also a rich source of folic acid and of antioxidants. Pomegranates are high in polyphenols.

In several human clinical trials, the juice of the pomegranate has been found effective in reducing several heart risk factors, including LDL oxidation, macrophage oxidative status, and foam cell formation, all of which are steps in atherosclerosis and heart disease. Pomegranate has been shown to reduce systolic blood pressure by inhibiting serum angiotension converting enzyme.Pomegranate juice has also been shown to be effective against certain cancers such as prostate cancer.

The tree is primarily mild-temperate to subtropical and naturally adapted to regions with cool winters and hot summers. It can be severely injured by temperatures below -10°C. The plant prefers a semi-arid climate and is extremely drought tolerant.

The pomegranate thrives on calcareous, alkaline soil and on deep, acidic loam and a wide range of soils in between these extremes.

Pomegranate seeds germinate readily even when merely thrown onto the surface of loose soil and the seedlings spring up with vigor. However, to avoid seedling variation, selected cultivars are usually reproduced by means of hardwood cuttings 25-50 cm long.

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