Kamis, 26 Maret 2009


Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Cucurbitales
Family: Cucurbitaceae
Genus: Citrullus
Species: C. lanatus

Binomial name
Citrullus lanatus
(Thunb.) Matsum. & Nakai

Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum & Nakai, family Cucurbitaceae) refers to both fruit and plant of a vine-like (climber and trailer) herb originally from southern Africa and one of the most common types of melon. This flowering plant produces a special type of fruit known by botanists as a pepo, which has a thick rind (exocarp) and fleshy center (mesocarp and endocarp); pepos are derived from an inferior ovary and are characteristic of the Cucurbitaceae. The watermelon fruit, loosely considered a type of melon (although not in the genus Cucumis), has a smooth exterior rind (green and yellow) and a juicy, sweet, usually red, but sometimes orange, yellow, or pink interior flesh.

Tsamma in the Kalahari (Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park)David Livingstone, an explorer of Africa, described watermelon as abundant in the Kalahari desert, where it is believed to have originated. There, the ancestral melon grows wild and is known as the Tsamma melon (Citrullus lanatus var tastius).[citation needed] It is also known in Zimbabwe as 'nwiwa, mwiwa or iswe'. The plant has pinnatifid leaves. The flesh is similar to the rind of a watermelon and is often known as citron melon (distinct from the actual citron, of the citrus family); it is used for making jam and other preserves, and has a high content of pectin.[citation needed] It has established itself in the wild in Baja California.[citation needed]

It is not known when the plant was first cultivated, but Zohary and Hopf note evidence of its cultivation in the Nile Valley from at least as early as the second millennium BC. Finds of the characteristically large seed are reported in Twelfth dynasty sites; numerous watermelon seeds were recovered from the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun,[1] although the existence of the fruit in ancient Egypt is not certain because it is not depicted in any hieroglyphic text nor does any ancient writer mention it. It wasn't present in any other culture of the ancient Mediterranean. By the 10th century AD, watermelons were being cultivated in China, which is today the world's single largest watermelon producer. By the 13th century, Moorish invaders had introduced the fruit to Europe; and, according to John Mariani's The Dictionary of American Food and Drink, "watermelon" made its first appearance in an English dictionary in 1615.
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source from : http://en.wikipedia.org/

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