Friday, June 2, 2017
Watermelon - 'Citrullus lanatus' - fam: Cucurbitaceae
Watermelon, Citrullus lanatus var. lanatus, is a scrambling and trailing vine in the flowering plant family Cucurbitaceae. The species originated in southern Africa, where there is evidence of its cultivation in Ancient Egypt. It is grown in tropical and sub-tropical areas worldwide for its large edible fruit, also known as a watermelon, which is a special kind of berry with a hard rind and no internal division, botanically called a pepo. The sweet, juicy flesh is usually deep red to pink, with many black seeds. The fruit can be eaten raw or pickled and the rind is edible after cooking.
Considerable breeding effort has been put into disease-resistant varieties and into developing a 'seedless' strain with only digestible white seeds. Many cultivars are available that produce mature fruit within 100 days of planting the crop.
Watermelons are a sweet, popular fruit of summer, usually consumed fresh in slices, diced in mixed fruit salads, or as juice. Watermelon juice can be blended with other fruit juices or made into wine.
The seeds have a nutty flavor and can be dried and roasted, or ground into flour. In China, the seeds are eaten at Chinese New Year celebrations. In Vietnamese culture, watermelon seeds are consumed during the Vietnamese New Year's holiday, Tết, as a snack.
Watermelon rinds may be eaten, but most people avoid eating them due to their unappealing flavor. They are used for making pickles, sometimes eaten as a vegetable, stir-fried or stewed.
A variety of Citrullus lanatus, grows wild in the Kalahari Desert, where it is known as 'tsamma'. The fruits are used by the San people and wild animals for both water and nourishment, allowing survival on a diet of tsamma for six weeks. 1
REFERENCES: Wikipedia 1