plant belongs to the family Punicaceae, botanically
known as Punica granatum L. It is a fruit of its
own taste and peculiar characteristics. Hence
it has become most popular crop in the Central
& Southern India. The freshly harvested mature
fruit is light pink to pink coloured, mildly flavoured
and sweet with refreshing and agreeable taste.
The color in pomegranate fruit is due to water
soluble pigments known as anthocyanins.
fruit originally came from Persia and Afghanistan,
and even today the small squat shrub-like tree
can often be seen growing wild from the Persian
Gulf to the Hindu Kush. A feature of the tree
is that it also thrives in areas with highly irregular
rainfall. The fruit will keep for up to six months,
thanks to its leathery skin.
The tree adapts quickly to local
conditions. In colder climates it is deciduous,
in warmer regions it becomes an evergreen. And
an other special characteristic is that prolonged
high temperatures during the ripening phase make
the fruit flesh particularly sweet. You can tell
when the fruit is fully ripe by its slightly cracked
Maharashtra state statistics
for 1992 show a crop area of 9,000 hectares (22,000
acres), the highest in the country. But because
the tree will grow almost anywhere, the true acreage
is probably much higher. Though the southwest
state of Karnataka has a smaller planted area
(4,650 ha (11,490 acres)), production is one-third
higher at 109,763 tonnes. Government figures for
Maharashtra document substantial new planting,
which are only gradually coming into bearing.
The tree flowers up to three times a year, according
to the climate; once in spring in north India,
all year round in central and south India. Maharashtra
boasts three flowering periods (bahar); the rainy
season, winter and summer.
As in many other fruit, the only
pomegranate varieties known are those which have
either been grown in the same place for a long
time or which are the result of cross breeding.