Friday, April 07, 2006

Pomegranate

Pomegranate (Punica granatum) - a large shrub or small tree native to southwestern Asia. It thrives in hot, dry desert valleys. In southern Arizona, hummingbirds visit its flowers. Once it has fruited and the fruits split open, Mockingbirds, Pyrrhuloxias, Gila Woodpeckers, Cactus Wrens, finches and thrashers feed on the fleshy red seeds.

Many years ago I planted a tiny pomegranate tree. At first we thought that we'd joyfully reap its harvest, but as the years went by we realized that the birds and insects in our garden really enjoyed its fruits more than we did. It is now a designated bird and insect feeder.

In winter, it sheds its leaves.

All that remains are the dry hulls of the fruit

empty of pith and seeds.


It's a hardy little tree, surviving despite my neglect. Most years it requires very little watering, but this year, after a six month drought, it was really bedraggled. In January I decided to give it a couple of thorough soakings, even though I hated to use precious water. Much to my delight, that's all it seemed to need.

Although a few of last year's scavenged fruits remain,

young leaf shoots are lifting their fiery tips to the sky.


They mature to a lush green.

Three days ago - the first buds.


A flower emerges.

Another reaches out to the light.


A third is in full bloom.

The hummingbirds will come soon. Later, as the fruits mature, insects will bore into them and woodpeckers will start to tap patterns on the hardening shell. We'll pick a few, but leave the rest to nourish our welcome garden visitors.

9 comments:

chiefbiscuit said...

Hi Pam - Beautiful. Trees are something else aren't they?

LauraHinNJ said...

No wonder the hummers like them - the flowers remind me of hibiscus.

Endment said...

i really enjoy this photo series. I grew up with pomegranets - I may actually miss the flowers more than the fruit. Thanks for sharing these

T. Beth said...

My pomegranate has just started blooming too. I hope that the birds will leave me at least one fruit this year.

Laura said...

Pam, what a gorgeous and interesting series of photos. I've never seen a pomegranate tree, so I learned a lot from them, too. The flowers look as though they will be heaven for hummingbirds!

Jean said...

J'adore ces photos de la nature !

patina said...

great close up study of these beautiful blossoms.

lené said...

I really liked seeing all of the stages of the tree. My great grandparents used to ship us pomegranites from Georgia, so there must be a variety that grows in more humid climates, as well.

Pam in Tucson said...

Thanks to all who commented. I'm sorry I didn't have time to get back and respond individually this weekend. I've been to all your blogs and have enjoyed them.