Melon Facts

Melon Facts
Melon is a member of the Cucurbitaceae family. Its closest relatives are squashes and cucumbers. Melons originate from Africa and southwestern parts of Asia. Ancient Egyptians have been cultivated melons 2000 years BC. After they become widely spread and popular in Europe, melons were introduced to America by the Spanish settlers during the 15th and 16th century. There are numerous varieties of melons that differ in size, color and sweetness of the fruit. Melons are symbol of fertility and vitality, but also of luxury because they were expensive and scarce in the past.
Interesting Melon Facts:
Size of melon depends on the variety. Largest recorded watermelon had 262 pounds of weight.
Melon grows as vine. It has round stem that produces lateral tendrils. Green leaves are oval or circular in shape. They have shallow lobes.
Melon produces two types of flowers: staminate (contains only male reproductive organs) and perfect flowers (contains both male and female reproductive organs). Plant that produces these types of flowers is called andromonoecious.
Size, shape, color, sweetness and texture of the fruit depend on the type of melon. Skin can be either smooth or rough. Color of the skin can be green, yellow, orange, creamy or kaki. Sweetness of the fruit depends on the climate conditions and intensity of photosynthesis (production of sugar from the carbon dioxide and water, with a help of sun).
Seeds are located in the middle of the fruit. They are usually 0.4 inches long, creamy in color and oval in shape.
Watermelons were very popular in the Roman Empire and in the ancient Egypt. Certain rulers, such as Tutankhamen, were even buried with the seeds of watermelons.
Best known varieties of melon are casaba, honeydew, Persian melon and cantaloupe.
Melons have high nutritional value. They are rich source of vitamin C, vitamins of the B group, and minerals such as potassium, manganese, iron and phosphorus.
Watermelon contains more than 92% of water, hence the name.
Melons are usually consumed raw. They can be served as a part of fruit salads, refreshing juices or in the sweet desserts. Some types of melons are used as vegetable when they are not fully ripe, and as fruit when the sugar content reach its maximum level (fully ripe melon).
Roasted and dried seeds are used as snack in the African and Indian culture.
Almost all parts of melon (fruit, seed, leaves and roots) are used in traditional Chinese medicine.
Scientists created cube-shaped melon. Packaging and transportation of this type of melon requires less effort compared to rounded types of melon. Cube-shaped melon is far more expensive than conventional melons.
25% of globally consumed melons originate from China. It produces over 8 million tons of melons each year.
Melon is annual plant, which means that it finishes its life cycle in one year.

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