Like most plants, pomegranate trees are photoautotrophs. They utilize carbon dioxide, sunlight, and water in a process called photosynthesis. This is their method of acquiring the nutrients necessary to survive. The products of this chemical process are sugars and oxygen. Via photosynthesis, pomegranate trees are able to obtain nourishment for themselves and also provide benefits for other organisms in the environment. Excess oxygen is released into the air as it is produced; therefore, Punica granatum is a primary producer. Many animals, such as Himalayan black bears, use this oxygen to breathe.

6 CO2 + 6 H2O + Light      C6H12O6 + 6 O2

Organelles called chloroplasts, which are found primarily in the leaves, are the site of most photosynthetic production. However, before photosynthesis may occur, water, minerals, and carbon dioxide must accumulate in the leaves. Sunlight must also be present. Specialized vascular tissues known as xylem and phloem assist in the transportation process. Xylem carries water  from the root system all the way up to the leaves, whereas phloem transports sugars. Specialized cells known as stomata regulate gas exchange in the leaves; they admit carbon dioxide and release oxygen as photosynthesis requires.


Figure 1 (above). Diagram displays the process of photosynthesis, based on information obtained from Biology - Campbell 2008.

Most plants utilize this photosynthesis to acquire nutrients. Representatives of these autotrophic organisms include the Ginkgo tree, cinnamon tree and lowbush blueberry plant. Additionally, a couple of other types of organisms perform this process. Blue-green algae, which is not included in Kingdom Plantae but is part of Kingdom Viridiplantae, photosynthesizes. Elysia chlorotica, a green sea slug, is the only known animal that is able to transform light energy by the process of photosynthesis.

To explore the reproductive cycle of the pomegranate tree, click on REPRODUCTION.