Pablo Melgarejo, Juan José Martínez-Nicolás, Dámaris Núñez-Gómez, María Soledad Almansa, Pilar Legua

Accurate Botanical Nomenclature: Pomegranate and the ‘Aril’ Misconception

  • Plant Science
  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)
  • Health (social science)
  • Microbiology
  • Food Science

The pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) attracts attention in studies for its nutritional and medicinal properties. However, a recurring issue in the literature arises due to the multidisciplinary nature of these studies, leading to a mistaken repetition of basic botanical terms. The problem stems from the misapplication of the term “aril” to the pomegranate seed, despite the fruit being exariled, signifying the absence of an aril. This confusion may be attributed to the sarcotesta’s appearance, resembling a complete aril, coupled with a lack of awareness in fields such as medicine, pharmacy, and cosmetics. This study specifically examines the Kingdom-variety pomegranate, due its economic importance in the fruit market. The fruits were evaluated at different developmental stages—initial, intermediate, and commercial. Magnification photography techniques were used to study the development state of the pomegranate fruits. The physiological studies confirm that the pomegranate seed constitutes the complete grain, with the juicy, sweet part surrounding it identified as the testa, not an aril. The findings underscore a persistent error in the existing literature, emphasizing the necessity for dissemination and education in future studies. A thorough grasp of pomegranate anatomy and precise use of terminology are indispensable for ensuring accuracy and rigor in scientific communication.

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