What is watermelon?
A: Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) is a flowering plant species of the Cucurbitaceae family and the name of its edible fruit.
A scrambling and trailing vine-like plant, it is a
highly cultivated fruit worldwide, with how many varieties?
A: More than 1,000.
Watermelon is grown in favorable climates from tropical
to temperate regions worldwide for its what?
A: Large edible fruit, which is a berry with a hard rind and no internal divisions and is botanically called a pepo.
The sweet, juicy flesh is usually what color?
A: Deep red to pink, with many black seeds, although seedless varieties exist.
The fruit can be eaten how?
A: Raw or pickled.
The rind is edible after what?
It may also be consumed as a what?
A: A juice or an ingredient in mixed beverages.
Kordofan melons from Sudan are the closest relatives
and may be progenitors of what?
A: Modern, cultivated watermelons.
Where were watermelons domesticated?
A: In north-east Africa.
They were cultivated in Egypt by when?
A: 2000 BC, although they were not the sweet modern variety.
Sweet dessert watermelons spread across the
Mediterranean world during what period?
A: Roman times.
Considerable breeding effort has developed what?
A: Disease-resistant varieties.
Many cultivars are available that produce mature fruit
within how many days of planting?
A: 100 days.
In 2017, China produced how much of the world's total
A: About two-thirds.
The watermelon is an annual that has a what?
A: A prostrate or climbing habit.
Stems are up to how long?
A: 3 metres (10 feet).
Like all but one species in the genus Citrullus,
watermelon has what?
A: Branching tendrils.
Plants have unisexual male or female flowers that are
A: White or yellow and borne on 40-millimetre-long (1+1⁄2 in) hairy stalks.
Wild plants have fruits up to 20 cm (8 in) in diameter,
while cultivated varieties may exceed what diameter?
A: 60 cm (24 in).
The rind of the fruit is mid- to dark green and usually
A: Mottled or striped.
Watermelons were originally cultivated for their what?
A: High water content.
They were stored to be eaten during dry seasons, not only as a food source, but as a method of storing water.
Watermelon seeds were found in the Dead Sea region at
what ancient settlements?
A: Bab edh-Dhra and Tel Arad.
In the 7th century, watermelons were being cultivated
in India, and by the 10th century had reached where?
The Moors introduced the fruit into what?
A: The Iberian Peninsula, and there is evidence of it being cultivated in Córdoba in 961 and also in Seville in 1158.
It spread northwards through southern Europe, perhaps
limited in its advance by what?
A: Summer temperatures being insufficient for good yields.
The fruit had begun appearing in European herbals by
1600 and was widely planted in Europe in what century?
A: The 17th century as a minor garden crop.
Early watermelons were not sweet, but bitter, with what
yellowish white what?
A: Flesh and they were difficult to open.
European colonists and enslaved people from Africa
introduced the watermelon to where?
A: The New World.
Spanish settlers were growing it in Florida in what
It was being grown in Massachusetts by 1629, and by
1650 was being cultivated where?
A: In Peru, Brazil and Panama.
Around the same time, where were Native Americans
cultivating the crop?
A: In the Mississippi valley and Florida.