National Herbarium, Agricultural Research Council, Rawalpindi.
Small trees or shrubs, sometimes spiny. Leaves opposite, simple, exstipulate. Flowers showy, solitary, axillary or terminal, bisexual, 5-7-merous. Calyx campanulate, adnate below, thick and coriaceous, lobed at the top, valvate, persistent. Petals free, imbricate. Stamens numerous, persistent. Ovary inferior, multilocular, loculi in two layers; placentation axile in the lower and parietal in the upper loculi. Style simple. Fruit baccacous, crowned with the lobes of the calyx, rind leathery. Seeds numerous, pulpy and juicy.
A monogeneric family with two species; one endemic to Socotra and the other distributed throughout the tropical regions of the world.
Punica has been included under Lythraceae, but it is separated on account of its inferior, multilocular ovary, with superposed loculi and ebracteate flowers. Punicaceae is also related to Sonneratiaceae, a family of Indomalesian mangrove trees.
Acknowledgements: We are grateful to the United States Department of Agriculture for financing this research under PL.480. Thanks are also due to Messrs. B.L. Burtt, I.C. Hedge and Miss J. Lamond of the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, for their helpful suggestions.