Watermelon is a delicious fruit, which can easily taste more delicious in the scorching Indian summers.
The plant which does bear the fruit is also named the same. Its scientific name is Citrullus lanatus. According to Wikipedia, watermelon is a scrambling and trailing vine from the flowering plant family Cucurbitaceae. Watermelon fruit stems from the flowering plant which traces its origins to West Africa. In common parlance, one can say that the watermelon plant belongs to the gourd family.
The hot climate is conducive to the growth of watermelon fruit. The plant and the fruit are cultivated around the globe. The weight of a watermelon fruit may vary from 1 to 20 kg. It is mostly round in shape, but in Japan, you can find square watermelons also.
Henceforth, in this article, we would refer watermelon in the context of fruit only. The fruit has a rich legacy to match its rich red interiors. However, besides deep red, the flesh of watermelon can also come in pink, yellow or white, though deep red and pink are the usual colors for juicy watermelon flesh, which are dotted with black seeds. Watermelon fruits mostly come with the dark green outer skin.
Watermelon has been associated with us since the nascent days of human civilization. Africa is believed to be the birthplace of watermelons. There is evidence of watermelon cultivation in ancient Egypt, some 4000 years ago. Evidence of watermelon’s cultivation can be found from the Nile Valley of second millennium BC. According to Encyclopaedia Britannica, the fruit is depicted in ancient Egyptian art. Watermelon seeds dating 3000 BC were found in China.
How watermelons rolled into India is wrapped in an enigma. But there is evidence that watermelons were being cultivated in India during the seventh century, and by the 10th century, this fruit had spread its sweetness to China. The fruit was introduced in Spain by the Moors and there is evidence of watermelon being cultivated in Cordova in Spain, during the 10th century. The fruit attracted wide cultivation in Europe during the 17th century.
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June - July 2019