Pomegranate (Eng), granado (Spa), mangraner (Cat), minglana (Baq), miligrandeira (Glg), miligrandeira (Por).
“Pomegranates in the blue sky! / Street of sailors! / How green are the trees, / how merry the sky!”
'Granados en el cielo azul' [Pomegranates in the blue sky], Juan Ramón Jiménez
The pomegranate is considered to be a very branching, usually thorny, shrub or small tree which can reach 5 m in height. The bark of this species is a light honey colour, and becomes very cracked and knobbly in older specimens. The leaves are deciduous although somewhat leathery, simple, usually opposite, with an entire margin. They are shiny green on the upper side and matt yellow colour on the underside. They are more or less lanceolate or oblong in shape. They are usually 0.8-2 cm wide, 2-5 cm long, but it is possible for the length to vary between extremes of 1.5 and 7 cm. The flowers are red, solitary and very showy, as the writer from Alicante, José Martínez Ruiz, 'Azorín', reminds us in The Spanish landscape as seen by the Spanish: “... the pomegranate, with its red flowers, aflame, stands out against the grey ploughed earth”. When it matures, it forms a complex, globular, yellow or yellowish-red fruit when ripe. This edible fruit is 5-12 cm in diameter, has a leathery peel, and gives its name to the plant. It comprises a series of juicy granules that are separated into sections by a bitter yellowish membrane.
This species is indifferent to soil type. It grows from sea level up to 1100 m. It requires sunshine and is affected by frost.
The pomegranate is native to the Iranian-Turanian region, including Anatolia, Syria, Iran, northeastern Afghanistan, northern Iraq, and parts of Lebanon, Jordan and Israel. Its range also extends to central Asia (including most of Kazakhstan), Tien Shan and the Altai Mountains. In his Journey from Persia, the Scottish author, James Baillie Fraser, writes: “Another day, while hunting in Kad, a village near Tehran and famous for its pomegranates, he got to work and personally prepared a considerable amount of jam...”. It appears naturalised in the eastern Mediterranean basin and has been cultivated since ancient times, a fact that has helped it become established in the wild along roadsides, in hedges and near rivers. It is found scattered across the Iberian Peninsula and Balearic Islands, mostly in the east and south.