Watermelon

2722EA   Watermelon    x1
2721CS   Watermelon    x5

WatermelonThe watermelon is a vine-like (scrambler and trailer) flowering plant originally from southern Africa. The ancestor of the modern watermelon is a tough, drought-tolerant plant prized for its ability to store water for tribes crossing the Kalahari desert.

It is a large, sprawling annual plant with coarse, hairy, pinnately-lobed leaves and white to yellow flowers. It is grown for its edible fruit, also known as a watermelon, which is a special kind of berry botanically known as a pepo.

The fruit has a smooth hard rind, usually green with dark green stripes or yellow spots, and a juicy, sweet interior flesh, usually deep red to pink, but sometimes orange, yellow, or white, with many seeds.

The rind of this fruit is mid-to-dark green and usually mottled or striped. The flesh contains numerous pips and is commonly red, although different varieties have orange, pink, yellow, green or white flesh.

Evidence of its cultivation in the Nile Valley has been found from the second millennium BC onward. Watermelon seeds have been found at Twelfth Dynasty sites and in the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun, where they were placed to allegedly nourish the king in the afterlife.

In the 7th century, watermelons were being cultivated in India and by the 10th century had reached China, which is today the world’s single largest watermelon producer. Moorish invaders introduced the fruit into Europe 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 summer temperatures being insufficient for good yields. The fruit had begun appearing in European herbals by 1600, and was widely planted in Europe in the 17th century as a minor garden crop.

According to Guinness World Records, the world’s heaviest watermelon was grown by Chris Kent of Sevierville, Tennessee in the USA in 2013, weighing in at 350.5lbs (159kg).

At a pH level of 9.0, Watermelon are very alkaline. Because of its high fibre and water content at 92% of its entire weight, watermelon is a mild diuretic and a great source of beta-carotene, lycopene and vitamin C.

Watermelon flesh can be used in sweet and savoury dishes, and are a great addition to salads and as snacking fruit for children.

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