Cure For A Hot Summer Day
Nothing like the Taste of Ice Cold Watermelon on a Hot Summer Day.
Citrullus lanatus is a plant species in the family Cucurbitaceae, a vine-like (scrambler and trailer) flowering plant originally from sub-Saharan Africa. It is cultivated for its fruit. The subdivision of this species into two cultivars, watermelons (Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) var. lanatus) and citron melons (Citrullus lanatus var. citroides (L. H. Bailey) Mansf.), originated with the erroneous synonymization of Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum. & Nakai and Citrullus vulgaris Schrad. by L.H.Bailey in 1930. Molecular data including sequences from the original collection of Thunberg and other relevant type material, show that the sweet watermelon (Citrullus vulgaris Schrad.) and the bitter wooly melon Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum. & Nakai are not closely related to each other. Since 1930, thousands of papers have misapplied the name Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum. & Nakai for the watermelon, and a proposal has therefore been submitted to conserve the name with this meaning.
The bitter South African melon first collected by Thunberg has become naturalized in semiarid regions of several continents, and is designated as a "pest plant" in parts of Western Australia.
The watermelon is an annual that has a prostrate or climbing habit. Stems are up to 3 m long and new growth has yellow or brown hairs. Leaves are 60 to 200 mm long and 40 to 150 mm wide. These usually have three lobes which are themselves lobed or doubly lobed. Plants have both male and female flowers on 40-mm-long hairy stalks. These are yellow, and greenish on the back.
This plant is listed on the Threatened Species Programme of the The South African National Biodiversity Institute.
June 26th, 2017
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