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Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Subclass: Rosidae
Order: Myrtales
Family: Punicaceae
Genus: Punica
P. granatum
P. proto-punica

Pomegranates originated in Persia and have been cultivated around the Mediterranean for centuries. Its genus name, Punica, is a constant reminder that the Phoenicians were the mediators in spreading its cultivation, partly for religious reasons. The plant is a glossy-leaved shrub and the fruit, between an orange and a grapefruit in size, has a thick reddish skin and many seeds. The edible parts are the brilliant red seed pulp and seeds.

The acidic juice of pomegranates is used in Indian cookery; thickened and sweetened it makes grenadine syrup, used in cocktail mixing.

Pomegranates in mythology. Pomegranates are a symbol of fertility because of their many seeds, yet of death because of the vivid blood red of the pulp. (See life-death-rebirth deity.) In mythology, Persephone was condemned to spend time in the Underworld every year because Hades tricked her into eating six pomegranate seeds while she was his prisoner. The pomegranate was a symbol of the Aegean Triple Goddess who evolved into Olympian Hera, who is represented offering the pomegranate. See also Orion (mythology)

A pomegranate appears in the shield of the Spanish city Granada and the flag of Caribbean island Grenada.

The pomegranate gave its name to the grenade for its shape, and to the garnet for its colour.

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