Zink, Frank W. Department of Vegetable Crops, University of California, Davis, California.
- Cultivation and culture
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
The edible fruit of Cucumis melo, belonging to the gourd family. Muskmelons (Fig. 1) are members of the family Cucurbitaceae (which includes other vine crops such as watermelons, squashes, pumpkins, and cucumbers) in the order Cucurbitales; they were formerly included in the order Violales. The muskmelon appears to be indigenous to Africa. There are secondary centers of origin in India, Iran, southern Russia, and China. The muskmelon was a latecomer to the assortment of domesticated crops. It then exploded into numerous cultivars that were rapidly dispersed throughout Europe and then into the Americas. American cultivars encompass the netted, salmon-fleshed cantaloupes; the smooth-skinned, green-fleshed Honey Dew melon; the green-skinned, bright-orange-fleshed Persian melon; the delicate-flavored, light-salmon-fleshed Crenshaw melon; and the wrinkle-skinned, white-fleshed Golden Beauty casaba (Fig. 2). Other forms with very different plant and fruit characteristics are used in eastern Asia for pickling and in India for cooking. All these melons differ only in varietal characters, and all intercross freely. See also: Cantaloupe; Honey Dew melon; Horticultural crops; Persian melon; Violales
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