The pomegranate (Punica granatum) is a fruit-bearing deciduous shrub in the family Lythraceae, subfamily Punicoideae, that grows between 5 and 10 m (16 and 33 ft) tall. The pomegranate was originally described throughout the Mediterranean region. It was introduced into Spanish America in the late 16th century and into California by Spanish settlers in 1769. The fruit is typically in season in the Northern Hemisphere from October to February, and in the Southern Hemisphere from March to May. As intact sarcotestas or juice, pomegranates are used in baking, cooking, juice blends, meal garnishes, smoothies, and alcoholic beverages, such as cocktails and wine. Pomegranates are widely cultivated throughout the Middle East and Caucasus region, north and tropical Africa, the Indian subcontinent, Central Asia, the drier parts of Southeast Asia, and the Mediterranean Basin. Etymology The name pomegranate derives from medieval Latin pmum 'apple' and grntum 'seeded'. Possibly stemming from the old French word for the fruit, pomme-grenade, the pomegranate was known in early English as 'apple of Grenada'a term which today survives only in heraldic blazons. This is a folk etymology, confusing the Latin granatus with the name of the Spanish city of Granada, which derives from Arabic. Garnet derives from Old French grenat by metathesis, from Medieval Latin granatum as used in a different meaning 'of a dark red color'. This derivation may have originated from pomum granatum, describing the color of pomegranate pulp, or from granum, referring to 'red dye, cochineal'. The French term for pomegranate, grenade, has given its name to the military grenade. Description A shrub or small tree growing 5 to 10 m (16 to 33 ft) high, the pomegranate has multiple spiny branches and is extremely long-lived, with some specimens in France surviving for 200 years.
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