12 Facts About Pomegranate

Red Round Fruit

The pomegranate is an ancient, mystical fruit that has captivated cultures for millennia with its sweet tart flavor, vibrant red color, and symbolic meaning. This superfood has recently soared in popularity due to modern discoveries of its many health and culinary benefits.

Pomegranates have a rich history interwoven with legend, religion, medicine, food, and more. Their future looks bright as ongoing research continues to confirm the validity of age-old claims extolling the many virtues of pomegranates.

Here are 12 fascinating facts about this crimson jewel of fruits:

Red Pomegranate Seeds

1. Pomegranates Originated in Modern-Day Iran and Afghanistan

The pomegranate is native to a region spanning present-day Iran to northern India. They’ve been cultivated since ancient times throughout the Middle East, South Asia, and Mediterranean region. The name “pomegranate” derives from Latin and translates to “apple with many seeds.”

2. Pomegranates Are Packed with Potent Antioxidants

Pomegranates contain exceptionally high levels of polyphenol antioxidants, which give them their vibrant red hue. The antioxidants found in pomegranates provide a variety of health benefits, including reducing inflammation, protecting LDL cholesterol from oxidation, and destroying cancer cells.

3. Evidence Links Pomegranates to Cancer Prevention

Emerging research shows that pomegranate extracts selectively inhibit the growth of breast, prostate, colon, and lung cancer cells in culture. The extracts also reduce angiogenesis and invasion of cancer cells. While more research is needed, these preliminary results are promising.

4. Pomegranates Appear in Ancient Greek Mythology

In Greek mythology, pomegranates represent life, regeneration, and marriage. The fruit is seen in the famous story of Hades and Persephone. When Persephone eats pomegranate seeds in the underworld, she is bound to return every year. Her annual homecoming from Hades brought spring and summer to the land.

5. Pomegranates Were Revered in Ancient Egypt and By Many Early Societies

The ancient Egyptians saw pomegranates as a symbol of prosperity. Depictions of pomegranates adorn the pillars in King Solomon’s temple. Pomegranates also hold an esteemed place in the Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, Islamic, and Christian traditions.

Red Pomegranates

6. The Pomegranate Inspired the Design of Grenades

When Spanish settlers brought pomegranates to America, they inspired the name and design for grenades. The French word for pomegranate is “grenade,” so early grenades were fashioned to look like pomegranates.

7. California and Arizona Lead Pomegranate Production in the U.S.

In America, most commercial pomegranates come from California and Arizona. Pomegranate orchards exist across the southern U.S., but California’s San Joaquin Valley boasts the majority of production. The state even has a town called Pomegranate, CA!

8. You Can Use Every Part of the Pomegranate Plant

The fruit, flowers, bark, and roots of pomegranate trees and bushes all serve useful purposes, making this plant extremely versatile. Products from pomegranate extracts include juice, tea, jelly, wine, and grenadine syrup. Even the leathery skin gets used in certain cuisines.

9. The Pomegranate Was an Ingredient in One of History’s Earliest-Known Recipes

A clay tablet from 1700 BC dug up in ancient Babylon contains the oldest known written recipe. This recipe was for poultry stewed with garlic and pomegranate seeds.

10. There Are Hundreds of Pomegranate Varieties

While consumers typically just see one or two pomegranate cultivars at the store, there exists a vast array of different pomegranate varieties. Over 500 cultivars grow across the globe, featuring differences in flavor, sweetness, seed softness, color, ripening time, and more.

11. Unpredictable Flowering Makes Pomegranates Tricky to Grow

Home gardeners report pomegranates can be somewhat tricky to cultivate successfully. These plants thrive in hot, dry climates with long summers, but they tend to flower unpredictably. Getting fruit set can prove difficult outside of ideal pomegranate-growing regions.

12. ‘Wonderful’ Is the Most Popular Variety Grown

In commercial orchards, the ‘Wonderful’ cultivar dominates U.S. production. Growers prefer ‘Wonderful’ pomegranates because the variety yields large, extremely red fruit with delicious flavor and soft seeds. ‘Wonderful’ pomegranates also harvested early.


From ancient mythology to modern medicine, pomegranates captivate and nourish humanity. Their mystical allure and superfood status show no signs of fading. As research continues affirming the health properties of pomegranates, their future as a functional food and botanical ingredient looks bright. This magnificent, crimson fruit still has much to offer the world.

Sliced Pomegranate

Frequently Asked Questions about Pomegranates

What is the scientific classification of pomegranate?

The pomegranate belongs to the plant kingdom (Plantae), within the order Myrtales and the family Lythraceae. Its scientific name is Punica granatum.

2. Where is the pomegranate believed to have originated from?

The pomegranate was thought to have originated from Afghanistan and Iran before being introduced and exported to other parts of Asia, Africa, and Europe.

3. How is the pomegranate fruit typically used?

Pomegranates are used in baking, cooking, juice blends, meal garnishes, smoothies, and alcoholic beverages such as cocktails and wine. They can be enjoyed as intact sarcotestas or as juice.

4. What are some symbolic and mythological associations of the pomegranate?

The pomegranate is rich in symbolic and mythological associations in many cultures. It has been associated with prosperity, fertility, abundance, and even has historical significance in various religious and cultural traditions.

5. What are some health benefits associated with pomegranates?

Pomegranates are a rich source of dietary fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants. They are believed to have potential health benefits, including supporting heart health and providing anti-inflammatory properties.

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