Flora - Botanical Illustration, Punica Grantum L
The pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) is a deciduous, thorny, highly branched shrub or small tree (2–10 m tall), with scarlet flowers 3–4 cm long and large, golden-red fruits with a crusty rind. leathery and a persistent chimney-shaped calyx. Its leaves, with a shape between lanceolate and obovate, are bright green and turn red in autumn. It is one of the only two species accepted today that form the genus Punica, within the family Lythraceae.
Probably originating from the ancient region of Persia (present-day Iran), it has been cultivated throughout the Middle East and the Mediterranean for at least the last five thousand years.
Archaeological remains of seeds and pieces of fruit peel have been found in Jericho and Arad (Palestine), belonging to the Bronze Age. Records have also been found of the pomegranate, its characteristic fruit, in cuneiform tables from Mesopotamia, as well as in Egyptian tombs from the XII dynasty (1,970-1,800 BC).
The name of the pomegranate comes from the Latin 'punica arbor' (Punic tree) and in Ancient Rome the pomegranate was called 'malum punicum' (Punic apple), because the Romans considered the Phoenicians as the first to introduce this tree from the surroundings of Carthage.
The pomegranate is a tree full of symbolism where perhaps the most used is that of fertility. It is mentioned in the Bible and in the Koran; in Greek mythology it appears in the story of Persephone, who after being kidnapped by Hades and eating several pomegranate seeds (another forbidden fruit) she will be forced to spend part of the year in the Underworld. In Rome, the pomegranate placed in Juno's hand symbolized marriage.
On the other hand, the pomegranate is also considered the tree of knowledge, which is why it is represented in the logo of the Higher Council for Scientific Research.
Illustration of the pomegranate tree (Punica Granatum L.) that appears on the block sheet was made by Otto Wilhem Thomé and included in the book: Flora Von Deutschland, Osterreich Und Der Schweiz. Gera: Friedrich Von Zezschwitz, 1903.