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Pomegranate

Pomegranate : Punica granatum L.


Introduction

The pomegranate Punica granatum L. belongs to the family Punicaceae. It is cultivated in home gardens in Sri Lanka specially as a medicinal plant and as a fruit tree. There is no other fruit crop that has high medicinal value compared to that in pomegranate.

Nutritive Values

(per 100g edible portion)

Energy 

63-78 k cal

Protein 

0.05-1.6 g

Fat 

Trace to 0.9 g

Carbohydrates

15.4 -19.6g

Fiber 

3.4 -5.0g

Ash

0.36-0.73g

Calcium

3 -12mg

Phosphorus 

8-37mg

Iron

0.3 -1.2mg

Sodium

3mg

Potassium 

259mg

Carotene  

Non to trace

Thiamin  

0.003mg

Riboflavin

0.012-0.03mg

Niacin 

0.18-0.3mg

Ascorbic Acid 

4 - 4.2mg

Citric Acid 

0.46 -3.6mg

Boric Acid 

0.005mg

Moisture

72.6-86.4%

 

  • Analyses of fresh juice sacs made by various investigators.

Source: Fruit of warm climate, Julia F Moton (1987)

Medicinal Values / Uses

The juice of pomegranate is used for pharmaceutical purposes. It is used for treating dyspepsia and is considered beneficial in treating leprosy. Because of the tannin content of the bark, leaves, immature fruits and fruit rind are given as astringent to halt diarrhea, dysentery and hemorrhages. A decoction of the flowers is gargled to relieve oral and throat inflammation.

Major Growing Areas

Pomegranate is adapted to a wide range of climate conditions. It does well under desert conditions and produce high quality fruits when grown in loamy soil especially in locations with cool winter and a dry summer. In Sri Lanka most suitable districts for cultivation are Hambantota, Puttalum, Manar, Anuradapura, Jaffna, Monaragala.


Recommended Varieties

Local cultivars

Crop Management
Nature of Cultivation

Scattered; home gardens; also scattered in the Wet zone (less productive)

Pest and Disease incidence

Pests: Almost all Pomegranate varieties are found to be susceptible to the Pomegranate butterfly (Virachola isocrates) which is the most important pest in Sri Lanka. The caterpillar of the butterfly enters the fruits and feed on it.

Diseases: In Sri Lanka, there are several fungus diseases which are economically important in Pomegranate cultivation and are detailed below.
Fruit rot
i. Anthracnose fruit rot - Caused by Sphaceloma punicae
ii. Aspergillious fruit rot - Caused by Aspergillus spp.
iii. Penicillum fruit rot - Caused by Penicillium spp.

Leaf spots

Causal organisms are Colletotrichum spp., Phomopsis spp., Cercospora punicae.

Die back

Caused by either Pleuroplaconema spp. or Centhosphora phyllostica Fruit cracking Cause is not fully understood. However it is suspected to be a physiological disorder.

Harvesting & Post-harvest Technology
Processing and Product Development

Fresh fruits of Pomegranate could be used for enjoying at the table. In some countries such as Iran, the juice is a very popular beverage. In future, fruit juice extraction can be introduced as a cottage industry in Sri Lanka. Also, extracted juice may be concentrated and frozen for future use. It may be made in to a thick syrup for use as a sauce. It is also often converted into wine.