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Watermelon Facts

The Watermelon is the only fruit that is both a fruit and a vegetable. 

One of the main reasons why watermelons are named that way is because they are 92% water. 

It’s hard to beat a slice of Watermelon on a hot summer day.

Watermelon is not only thirst-quenching but also contains vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other wholesome phytonutrients. Watermelon is not the most nutritive fruit, but it does provide some nutrients.

Watermelon Facts for Kids

  • Watermelons are tropical fruits that are rich in sugar.
  • Other than being served as a refreshing dessert, Watermelon can also be made into a juice drink or a smoothie.
  • It is a popular summer treat because of how refreshing it is.
  • As in the case of other fruits, watermelons are also pollinated by bees and contain seeds.
  • The entire fruit is edible, but the Watermelon is most popular for its red flesh.

The Edible Rind on a Watermelon 

It is also possible to eat the rind of the melon, just as you can a cucumber.

Cucumbers are cousins to watermelons. In China, the rind is used in cooking for stir-fried food, pickled, and stewed.

A lot of countries sell dried or roasted watermelon seeds. They’re good for snacks.

The History of the Watermelon

Watermelons came from West Africa, where they grow wild.

Sweet watermelons are related to West African watermelons called Citrullus mucosospermus.

Watermelons have been around for over 5000 years in southern Africa, where the tough, drought-tolerant ancestor thrived.

Despite not being aware of the plant’s exact identity, researchers know it was valued for its capacity to store water and was used by indigenous tribes living in the Kalahari Desert region. 

As compared to modern Watermelon, its flesh was bitter, and people endemic to the region roasted and consumed its seeds as a source of nourishment, in addition to taking advantage of its water content.

The Nile Valley is known to have produced wild watermelons. Egyptian tombs found with watermelon seeds and paintings date back 4000 years.

Hippocrates, Dioscorides, and other Greek doctors praised Watermelon for its healing properties and used it as a diuretic and for treating kids who had heatstroke.

In the settlements around the Dead Sea, watermelon seeds were found.

In India, watermelons were first cultivated in the 7th century.

In the 10th century, China had become adept at cultivating Watermelon.

Around the 10th century, the Moors introduced Watermelon to Spain.

Watermelon was brought to the New World by African slaves and European colonists.

In the 17th century, it was planted around the world.

Watermelons were first cultivated in Florida by Spanish settlers in the 16th and 17th centuries and subsequently by Native Americans.

Brazilian, Peruvian, British, and Dutch colonies all grew watermelons by 1650.

A few watermelons were introduced into the Pacific Islands by Captain James Cook.

Among the first fruits grown by black people, the Watermelon became a symbol of freedom.

The Watermelon’s scientific name is Cucurbita Citrullus. It was described in 1753 by Carl Linnaeus.

In 1794, Carl Peter Thunberg gave the Watermelon its first Latin name, Momordica lanata.

Heinrich Adolf Schrader reclassified watermelon in 1836 into the genus Citrullus.

Cousins of the Watermelon

You’re probably wondering who Watermelon is related to before we look at varieties. 

  • Cucumber
  • Pumpkin and
  • Squash

Different Types of Watermelon

There are 200 to 300 different types of Watermelon, but only 50 of these are consumed by most people. The most beloved varieties are on the sweeter end of the scale.

They come in four main types: seeded, seedless, icebox, and yellow or orange.

A seeded watermelon is also known as a picnic watermelon.

A mini watermelon, in general, is referred to as an icebox watermelon. Sugar Baby and Tiger Baby varieties of Watermelon fall into this category.

A seedless watermelon is not an artificial hybrid watermelon – it is 100% organic!

Some of the seedless varieties include:

  • Crimson
  • Bijou
  • Jack of Hearts
  • King of Hearts
  • Millionaire
  • Nova
  • Queen of Hearts
  • Trio

The vast majority of watermelons distributed in the United States are seedless.

Among the many watermelons with seed is the seeded variety with red flesh, called Crimson Sweet watermelons.

When the Golden Midget watermelons are ripe, the rinds of the fruit turn yellow.

The Carolina Cross watermelon holds the world record for heaviest fruit. Guinness World Records recognized the 350-pound Carolina Cross grown in 2013 as the world’s largest Watermelon.

Orangeglo watermelons have light green skin and orange flesh.

Nutrients

92 percent of a watermelon is water, but the rest is packed with nutrients. It’s packed with high-quality vitamins A, B6, and C, plus lycopene, antioxidants, and amino acids. There’s even a little bit of potassium.

There is little doubt that watermelons are one of the best foods to obtain antioxidant lycopene.

In addition to reducing the risk of stomach cancer, lycopene also reduces the risk of lung, prostate, and colon cancers.

Pests and Diseases

Fungus can cause problems

In climates where temperatures are high and rainfall is frequent, the disease can be prevalent. Humidity can make watermelon crops susceptible to viruses.

The disease starts off with small yellow-brown spots with a yellow or green halo; when it progresses, the spot expands and becomes a large necrotic patch; the spot eventually coalesces, the leaves curl, and ultimately die.

There are many pests that harm watermelons, including aphids and fruit flies.

Circular spots on watermelons can be caused by the “mosaic virus.”

Japan has some varieties that are susceptible to fusarium wilt. The leaves wilt and look grayish-green, turning yellow with disease. The vascular tissues turn a dull red color.

The rootstocks that are used for grafting watermelons have the ability to resist disease.

Fun Facts

Every year there is “National Watermelon Day,” which is on August 3rd.

For over 40 years, Japanese farmers have grown cube-shaped watermelons in braces shaped like boxes.

Also, they’ve been growing watermelons in the shape of hearts and pyramids lately.

This vegetable is Oklahoma’s state veggie since 2007.

In the United States, Watermelon is the most eaten kind of melon.