any of the varieties of Cucumis melo, a trailing vine grown for its edible, often musky-scented
fruit. Melons are members of the horticulturally diverse gourd family (Cucurbitaceae). They are
frost-tender annuals, native to central Asia, and widely grown in many cultivated varieties in
warm regions around the world. The species has soft, hairy trailing stems, large round to lobed
leaves, and yellow flowers about 2.5 centimetres (1 inch) across. The fruits of the numerous
cultivated varieties differ greatly in size, shape, surface texture, and flesh colour and flavour:
they weigh from 1 to 4 kilograms (2 to 9 pounds).
Seven groups of melons are cultivated:
Reticulatis group, the netted, or nutmeg, melons, including the small muskmelons, with
net-ribbed rind and sweet orange flesh;
Cantalupensis group, the cantaloupes (named for Cantalupo, near Rome, where these melons
were early grown from southwestern Asian stock), characterized by rough warty rind and sweet
Inodorus group, the winter melons, including the large, smooth-skinned, mildly flavoured, and
light green- to white-fleshed honeydew, casaba, and Persian melons;
Flexuosus group, the snake or serpent melons, up to 7 cm in diameter and about 1 metre (3
feet) long, with slightly acid cucumber-like flesh;
Conomon group, the Oriental pickling melons, with greenish flesh, neither musky nor sweet;
Chito group, the mango melons, with fruit usually the size and shape of a lemon or orange, and
flesh whitish and cucumber-like;
Dudaim group, sometimes called the stinking melons, characterized by orange-sized, highly
fragrant and inedible ornamental fruit.
Cantaloupes are commonly grown commercially in Europe; the melons sold as "cantaloupes" in
the U.S. are a variety of melons, especially the netted types. The familiar dessert melons in
North America are the netted and winter melons. Chito, Conomon, and Flexuosus melons,
grown for making preserves and pickles, and Dudaim melons, grown for their ornamental and
perfumed fruits, are of commercial importance only locally.
Cantaloupes and netted melons are ripe when they give off a sweet fruity odour, at which time
they "slip" or break readily at the union of fruit and stalk. Honeydews and casabas are ripe
when they turn yellow, at which time they are cut from the vine; they are called the winter
melons because they ripen late and mature slowly in storage for many weeks, becoming softer
but not noticeably sweeter.
Plants resembling true melons include the watermelon; the Chinese watermelon (see wax
gourd); the melon tree (see papaya); and the melon shrub, or pear melon (Solanum
muricatum), with purple fruit and yellow aromatic flesh, native to the Andes.
in het nederlands