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Orchard Trees of Rancho Los Cerritos: Pomegranates

Articles: Orchard Trees of Rancho Los Cerritos: Pomegranates

One of the historic pomegranates (Punica granatum) at Rancho Los Cerritos in Long Beach, California. Author’s photographs

In Greek mythology, Demeter, goddess of the harvest, had a daughter called Persephone. The daughter’s loveliness caught the eye of lonely Pluto, god of the underworld. With Zeus’s permission, Pluto carried Persephone off to the land of mist and gloom. Demeter was saddened at the loss of her daughter and neglected her duties so that neither fruit nor grain grew for mankind. Zeus intervened on behalf of the starving people, but Demeter was adamant that, without her daughter, she did not care. Meanwhile, Persephone had fasted, mourning her fate, as she sat by Pluto’s side. Upon learning that Zeus wanted Persephone back with her mother, the sly Pluto, seeing how pleased and distracted the girl was, offered her a pomegranate to eat. Persephone spit most of the seeds out but accidentally swallowed a few. Once returned to her mother, she learned that the seeds she had consumed in the underworld condemned her to live there for an equivalent number of months per year. And thus the seasons came to b...

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Articles: Calochortophilia: A Californian’s Love Affair with a Genus by Katherine Renz

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