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Punica granatum L.

Punica granatum L.





Vernacular Names










Salebin, talibin.






Thapthim (Central), phila (Nong Khai), bakoh (Northern).


Lu'u, thap lu'u.



Geographical Distributions

Punica granatum is native to Asia particularly to Iran, Afghanistan and the Himalayas. From there, it was introduced and naturalised in the Mediterranean region, where it has been cultivated since ancient times. Now, it is grown throughout the tropics and subtropics.


Punica granatum is a deciduous shrub or small crooked tree that can grow up to 6(-10) m tall. It is often much branched near the base. The branches are often ending in a spine but also with axillary spines, and sometimes leaf-bearing themselves.

The leaves are mostly arranged opposite but sometimes subopposite or clustered, oblong-lance-shaped, with acute or obtuse base, entire margin, obtuse or emarginated apex, shiny above and firmly herbaceous with prominent midrib beneath. The petiole is very short.

The flowers are at the top of the twigs, waxy and measure 4-5 cm long and wide. The sepal and receptacle are 2-3 cm high, red or pale-yellow, fleshy and acutely 5-8-lobed. There are 3-7 petals which are crinkled, red, white or variegated. The stamens are numerous and the style surpasses the stamens.

The fruit is a spherical berry, measures 6-12 cm in diametre, crowned by a persistent sepal, very variable in colour from yellow-green to black-violet and with leathery skin.The interior of the fruit is separated by membranous walls and white spongy tissue into compartments that are packed with transparent sacs and each filled with juicy pulp and a seed.

The seeds are obtuse-angular, red, pink or yellow-white.  

Ecology / Cultivation

Punica granatum is a hardy subtropical species and surviving low winter temperatures (-10°C). The best quality fruits are produced in areas with cool winters and hot, dry summers; it does not fruit well in very humid climates. Under dry conditions, irrigation is needed to sustain high yield levels. The tree can tolerate soils on which most fruit crops do not thrive including calcareous and alkaline soils. In Southeast Asia, the tree grows well up to 1600 m elevation on a wide range of soil types; in wetter regions, the tree becomes evergreen, flowering and fruiting become protracted and fruit quality is inferior.

Line Drawing / Photograph


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  1)  Western Herb


1.       Plant Resources of South-East Asia No.2: Edible fruits and nuts.

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