7 Interesting Facts about Watermelon
- It is technically a fruit and a vegetable
- It is a highly nutritious food
- Every part of a watermelon is edible (rinds, seeds, flesh)
- Ancient Egyptians are believed to be the first nation producing watermelons at a larger scale, mainly using them as a water sources during the dry periods.
- Seedless varieties are preferred, accounting for the vast majority of US watermelon sales
- Watermelon is an annual plant and most varieties can be harvested 80-100 days after planting
- The heaviest watermelon has been reported to be 159kg (350,5lbs), but most varieties produce watermelons of approximately 6 to 12kg (13-26 lbs.)
Watermelon is an annual plant originated in Africa. Watermelon prefers warm areas to grow properly and has zero tolerance to frost. Watermelons are commonly grown for their sweet flesh and juice. They are an excellent source of water and nutrients especially during hot and dry periods of the year.
Nowadays, watermelons are grown in almost all tropical and subtropical regions. China is the largest watermelon producer. Turkey and countries around the Mediterranean are also watermelon producing countries. According to World Atlas, top 5 countries by watermelon production are:
- China (more than ⅔ of world production)
Watermelon’s scientific name is Citrullus lanatus and is a member of the Cucurbitaceae family. This family also includes other well-known members such as melons, squash, cucumbers and pumpkins.
Watermelon is a vining plant. Its vines can reach a length of 3 m (10 feet). They are green cylindrical( slightly angular) and covered by tiny hairs. Leaves are large and angular. Watermelons are monoecious plants. Individual plants produce both male and female flowers. Flowers are yellow and have 5 petals. The fruit is a large berry with black oval seeds.
Although the most common type of watermelon is the one with pink or red flesh and black seeds, there are also other varieties that produce yellow or orange flesh as well as solid green, or green striped skin.