A many-branched shrub often pruned into a small tree.
Up to 300 years with best fruit production in first 25 years.
Slow to Moderate.
6-15' high, depending on cultivar.
Bisexual flowers (called female), "male" flowers (with atrophied female parts)
and intermediate flowers form on the same plant, often next to one another.
Male flowers do not usually display petals.
Male flowers can make up to 60-70% of the total flowers on a plant,
depending on climate, cultivar, and season. The plant seems to use this ratio to conserve
energy when conditions for fruiting are marginal.
Intermediate flowers are sometimes fertile and usually need cross-pollination from another plant.
Bisexual flowers are showy, trumpet shaped, with ruffled petals, about 2" long,
often double, produced over a long period, usually orange-red, lacking fragrance, and produce
fruit when pollinated. Some ornamental cultivars produce no fruit but have large flowers
available in many colors, including white.
Male flowers and any other unpollinated flowers will typically drop off after bloom.
Other reasons for flower drop can be too cold, drought, insect infestation or fungal disease.
Winter into spring, or spring through summer, depending on local climate.
Self-pollinating, but cross-pollination from another cultivar often
increases fruit set.
Years before fruiting:
Can start in second year, but best
production after 5-6 years.
Shiny, reddish, apple-sized, spherical, with a cylindrical cap
on the blossom end. Each seed is encased in a sack (aril) containing juicy
pulp. The juice, pulp and seeds are edible. The juice and pulp are usually
red, but in some cultivars are pink or white, possibly non-staining, and sweeter.
Temperature affects the color of the pulp surrounding the seeds in some
cultivars, which will be clear or have a light color in hot weather and become darker red
when temperatures turn cold.
Months for fruit to ripen:
5-7. Depending on the cultivar, fruit are often considered ripe
when (1) the first cold weather snap occurs, usually in November, (2) when the fruit surface
changes from being smooth round to slightly bumpy, or (3) tapping on the fruit produces a
metallic sound. Remove fruit as soon as ripe.
Storage after harvest:
Refrigerated fruit can last up to 7 months.
Shiny, dark green, lance-shaped, about 3" long.
Branches may have spines. Red-brown bark.
Cultivars of note
for hot climates:
'Angel Red' large vivid red fruit, highest juice
content, soft edible seeds, best for juicing, prolific, ripens late
summer, 150 chill hours
'Eversweet' large red fruit, virtually seedless, clear arils,
clear, very sweet, non-staining juice, ripens late summer through fall, 150 chill hours
'Parfianka' large red fruit, very small edible seeds,
sweet red juice, excellent flavor, considered one of the best tasting overall, ripens mid-fall,
100 to 200 chill hours
'Pink Satin' medium-sized, pink to dark red fruit,
medium to large edible seeds, light-colored non-staining juice, sweet
fruit-punch flavor, vigorous, ripens mid-fall, 150-200 chill hours
'Sweet' a sweeter version of 'Wonderful', tiny, soft, edible seeds,
suitable for container growing and espalier, ripens late summer, 100 chill hours
'Wonderful' medium to large purple-red fruit with tangy
flavor, medium-hard seeds, vigorous, ripens mid-fall, productive plant grown
commercially, 150 chill hours.
Attracts butterflies, bees, hummingbirds. May be browsed
by deer. Birds often peck at ripening fruit, which should be covered by individual cloth bags
or by bird netting over the entire plant.
Toxic / Danger:
All parts mildly poisonous except for edible fruit.
Possible spines on branches.
Iran to the Himalayas. Usage dates back over 3000 years.