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For other uses, see Melon (disambiguation).
Canary Melon and cantaloupe
Watermelon vendors in Kstovo, Russia

A melon is any of various plants of the family Cucurbitaceae with edible, fleshy fruit (e.g. gourds or cucurbits). The word "melon" can refer to either the plant or specifically to the fruit. Many different cultivars have been produced, particularly of muskmelons. Although the melon is a botanical fruit (specifically, a berry), some varieties may be considered culinary vegetables rather than fruits. The word melon derives from Latin melopepo,[1] which is the latinization of the Greek μηλοπέπων (mēlopepon), meaning "melon",[2] itself a compound of μῆλον (mēlon), "apple"[3] + πέπων (pepōn), amongst others "a kind of gourd or melon".[4]


Watermelon and melon in India

Melons originated in Africa[5] and southwest Asia,[6] but they gradually began to appear in Europe toward the end of the Roman Empire. Melons were among the earliest plants to be domesticated in both the Old and New Worlds.[7] Early European settlers in the New World are recorded as growing honeydew and casaba melons as early as the 1600s.[6] A number of Native American tribes in New Mexico, including Acoma, Cochiti, Isleta, Navajo, Santo Domingo and San Felipe, maintain a tradition of growing their own characteristic melon cultivars, derived from melons originally introduced by the Spanish. Organizations like Native Seeds/SEARCH have made an effort to collect and preserve these and other heritage seeds.[8]


Melons are a nutritious food. The seeds of cantaloupe were used in China to moderate fevers and the digestive system. Elsewhere[where?], seeds were ground into a powder and used to treat tuberculosis. They have high levels of potassium. Due to their high water content, all melons are considered diuretics.[citation needed]

There is also evidence that suggests that eating melons can lower the risk of cancer[citation needed]. USDA researchers discovered that melons have lycopene, an antioxidant found in a select group of fruits and vegetables.

Melons by genus[edit]





Melons in genus Cucumis are culinary fruits, and include the majority of culinary melons. All but a handful of culinary melon varieties belong to the species Cucumis melo L.


Slice of native (Philippines) melon

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Not to be confused with Cucumis melo inodorus varieties, also collectively called winter melon.


  1. ^ Charlton T. Lewis, Charles Short (1879). "melopepo". A Latin Dictionary. Oxford University Press. 
  2. ^ Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott (1925). "μηλοπέπων,". A Greek-English Lexicon (ninth ed.). Oxford University Press. 
  3. ^ Liddell et al, "μῆλον"
  4. ^ Liddell et al, "πέπων"
  5. ^ John Griffith Vaughan, Catherine Geissler (2009). The New Oxford Book of Food Plants (second ed.). Oxford University Press. p. 134. ISBN 0-19-954946-X. 
  6. ^ a b "Growing Melons". University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension. Retrieved 2011-11-04. 
  7. ^ Andres, T. C. (2004). "Cucurbitaceae". [self-published source?]
  8. ^ Denise Miller (September 24, 2008). "San Felipe Pueblo melon farmer favors the old ways". Albuquerque Journal. 
  9. ^ Danielle Nierenberg. "Seeds, seeds, seeds: Egusi, the Miracle Melon". Nourishing the Planet. 
  10. ^ Enoch Gbenato Achigan-Dako; Rose Fagbemissi; Hermane Tonankpon Avohou; Raymond Sognon Vodouhe; Ousmane Coulibaly; Adam Ahanchede (2008). "Importance and practices of Egusi crops (Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum. & Nakai, Cucumeropsis mannii Naudin and Lagenaria siceraria (Molina) Standl. cv. ‘ Aklamkpa ’) in sociolinguistic areas in Benin". Biotechnol. Agron. Soc. Environ. 12 (4): 393–40. 
  11. ^ Daniel Zohary and Maria Hopf (2000). Domestication of Plants in the Old World (3 ed.). Oxford University Press. p. 193. 
  12. ^ "Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum. & Nakai". Grassland Species Profiles. FAO. 
  13. ^ G.N. Njorogo; M.N. van Luijk (2004). "Momordica". In G.J.H. Grubben; O.H. Denton. Plant Resources of Tropical Africa: Vegetables. Wageningen, Netherlands: PROTA Foundation. p. 248. ISBN 90-5782-147-8. 
  14. ^ Anthony F. Chiffolo, Rayner W. Hesse (2006). Cooking with the Bible: biblical food, feasts, and lore. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 255. ISBN 0-313-33410-2. 
  15. ^ a b Heidemarie Vos (2010). Passion of a Foodie - An International Kitchen Companion. Strategic Book Publishing. p. 348. ISBN 1-934925-63-2. 
  16. ^ "What is a casaba melon?". WiseGeek. Retrieved 2011-11-04. 
  17. ^ Geography. "Xinjiang Hami Melon". China ABC. China Daily. Retrieved 2012-04-05. 
  18. ^ "Moscow flooded with melons". The Moscow Times. September 21, 2007. Retrieved 2001-11-04. 
  19. ^ Jac G. Constant (1986). The Complete Book of Fruit: an illustrated guide to over 400 species and varieties of fruit from all over the world. Admiral. p. 35. ISBN 1-85171-049-3. 
  20. ^ Judy Bastyra, Julia Canning (1990). A Gourmet's Guide to Fruit. HP Books. p. 64. ISBN 0-89586-849-0. 
  21. ^ Linda Ziedrich (2010). The Joy of Jams, Jellies and Other Sweet Preserves: 200 Classic and Contemporary Recipes Showcasing the Fabulous Flavors of Fresh Fruits (Easyread Large Edition). p. 116. ISBN 1-4587-6483-4. 
  22. ^ James Ehler. "Melons". Food Reference. Retrieved 2011-11-04. [self-published source?]
  23. ^ PROTA, p. 384
  24. ^ PROTA, p. 384
  25. ^ PROTA p. 390

General references[edit]

External links[edit]