Monday, October 15, 2012

Binomen Art - Punica (Pomegranate)

Punica Spelled Out with Pomegranate Seeds (left), A Clump of Seeds with Arils (right)
Binomen Art - PunicaA Clump of Seeds with Arils

Here we go again playing with food. It’s pomegranates this time. Pomegranates (Punica granatum) just arrived in the local grocery store as we wind down from the summer fruit and move into fall. We like to sprinkle the pomegranate seeds over muesli. Unfortunately, the seeds of these pomegranates (or more correctly, the aril of the seeds) in this post do not have the deep ruby color that we’ve seen in the past.

From Quattrocchi the origin of the generic term Punica is given as:

The Latin name, malum punica “Carthaginian apple,” Punicus, a, um, from Poenus, i “a Carthaginian,” Poenus, a, um “Punic, Carthaginian,” Poeni, orum “the Phoenicians, the Carthaginians,” Greek Phoinix “Phoenician”; see Carl Linnaeus (Carl von Linné) (1707 - 1778), Species Planatarum. 472. 1753 and Genera Planatarum, Ed. 5. 212. 1754.

Punic refers to a group of people from Carthage in North Africa (today, Tunisia). Carthage was a Phoenician city-state founded in 814 BC. The Phoenicians came from the western, coastal part of the Fertile Crescent. The high point of Phoenician culture is said to be from 1200 - 800 BC. The Wikipedia entry for Phoenicia traces the word punicus to the term for blood red or crimson and referring to the Phoenician monopoly on the purple dye of the Murex snail.

The specific epithet, granatum, means seeded, which is self-explanatory.

Punica Spelled Out with Pomegranate Seeds and A Split Pomegranate (left), Pomegranate Seeds Removed from the Fruit (right)
Punica Spelled Out with Pomegranate Seeds and A Split Pomegranate Pomegranate Seeds Removed from the Fruit

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