previous page
next page

The pomegranate fruit scientific name Punica granatum is named after the ancient Phoenicians (Punica) who were responsible for spreading the seeds/grain (granatum) throughout the Mediterranean. The deciduous small tree with many spring branches grows to about 15-18’. It is native to semi-tropical Asia, Persia and Northern India. Although it is now widely cultivated around the world in semi-arid areas. In the Caribbean and other warm areas of Central America the pomegranate is virtually unknown and can only be found in Botanical Gardens and in yards of fruit enthusiast.

In the capital city, Belmopan, a consistently bearing tree resides at the entrance of Angelus Press. The trees at Dem Dats Doin were grown in enhanced acidic soil. They did very well and bore fruit but after about seven years it went dormant and never recovered. We believe the excessive rains of Toledo contributed to its demise. The trees growing at Dem Dats Doin and Haney Farms were from the fruits taken from Belmopan. The trees planted at Haney Farms are in fertile loamy soil with good drainage started to flower and fruit within two years.

The attractive bright red flowers and edible fruit have long been cultivated as an ornamental. The ripe fruit about the size of an orange has a very thick reddish rind and is not easy to cut. A short karate blow should crack the rind gaining access to its sweetish contents. The edible crimson pulp surrounding the whitish seeds are eaten raw although the entire seed may be consumed. As far as we are aware the few fruits from different trees in Belize we have sampled have a tangy/sweet flavor. The juice of the fruit is the chief ingredient for Grenadine syrup. The juice can also be made into wine.

Pomegranates are an excellent source for vitamin C, folic acid and antioxidants. They are also high in polyphenols. The superior polyphenols antioxidants are responsible for the free radical scavenging ability of pomegranate juice. Also the juice is currently being tested for its efficacy against prostate cancer.


Here are some interesting anecdotes about the Pomegranate:

  • The island of Grenada and city of Granada in Spain are named after punica Granatus.
  • The juice stains clothing permanently
  • The juice is used for dyeing of natural fabrics
  • The fruit gave its name to the Hand Grenade – from its shape and size
  • The calyx is shaped like a crown. In Jewish tradition it is seen as the original design for a proper crown.
  • The Koran mentions the fruit was included in the Garden of Paradise
  • Pomegranate seeds were found in tombs of ancient Egyptians
  • Before battle, the Babylonians chewed the seeds believing it made them invincible
  • It is widely used for bonsai – the oriental art of cultivating dwarfed trees – because of its flowers and unusual twisted bark
  • The pomegranates found in the Caribbean basin were probably introduced by Spanish missionaries
  • There are trees in Europe that are known to be over 200 years old
Yvonne and Alfredo Villoria own and operate Dem Dats Doin, the Toledo Botanical Arborethum, near Columbia Village in Belize's Toledo District.

Table of Content

previous page
next page