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Fruit of Punica granatum, a bush or small tree of Asia, which with a little-known species from the island of Socotra constitutes the family Punicaceae. Native to Iran and long cultivated around the Mediterranean and in India, it also grows in the warmer parts of the New World. The orange-sized and obscurely six-sided fruit has smooth, leathery, brownish yellow to red skin. Several chambers contain many thin, transparent vesicles of reddish, juicy pulp, each containing an angular, elongated seed. The fruit is eaten fresh, and the juice is the source of the grenadine syrup used in flavourings and liqueurs. The plant grows 16–23 ft (5–7 m) tall and has elliptical, bright green leaves and handsome orange-red flowers. Throughout the Orient, the pomegranate has since earliest times occupied a position of importance alongside the grape and the fig. It is mentioned in the Bible, by the Prophet Muhammad, and in Greek mythology.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on pomegranate, visit Britannica.com.