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Genus of the Week

Week of October 5-11

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This page has been created for people who want to learn more about plants, especially in the context of their taxonomy (Latin names, etc.). This is by no means an exhaustive list of all available Web resources for a particular genus.
If you like this page, you should also visit the Land of the Glandular Trichomes , a microscopic look at plants in the Lamiaceae family.

This week's genus:


Punica - The Pomegranate


Subclass: Dicotyledoneae
Superorder: Rosidae
Order: Myrtales
Family: Punicaceae
Number of Species: 2
Root: Formerly known as Malus punica, or "Punical Pome". Punica appears to simply be a reference to Carthage. The word "Pomegranate" comes from the Old French "pome" or "pomme", meaning apple, and "grenate" or "grenade", apparently in reference to the large amounts of seeds.

The genus Punica is the only one in the Punicaceae. The two species, P. protopunica and P. granatum, can grow as either shrubs or trees. The fruits derived from these plants, pomegranates, are filled with hundreds of seeds, each one surrounded by juice-filled flesh. It is from this juice that the drink grenadine is made. The bark and roots of the plant as well as the rind of the fruit, which contain various tannins and alkaloids, have long been used for their herbal properties. At least in the Northeastern U.S., pomegranates are available for only a brief period during the early fall, so experience one today!

Here are a few links to images and descriptions of different Punica species:


References:

  1. Grieve, M. (C. F. Leyel, ed.). A Modern Herbal. London, Tiger Books International: 1973.
  2. Heywood, V.H., ed. Flowering Plants of the World. New York, Oxford University Press: 1993.

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