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Useful Tropical Plants

Cucumis melo

L.

Cucurbitaceae

+ Synonyms

Cucumis acidus Jacq.

Cucumis alba Nakai

Cucumis ambiguus Fenzl ex Hook.f.

Cucumis aromaticus Royle

Cucumis bardanus Fenzl ex Naudin

Cucumis bisexualis A.M.Lu & G.C.Wang

Cucumis callosus (Rottler) Cogn.

Cucumis campechianus Kunth

Cucumis chate Hasselq.

Cucumis chate L.

Cucumis chinensis (Pangalo) Pangalo

Cucumis cicatrisatus Stocks

Cucumis cognata Fenzl ex Hook.f.

Cucumis cubensis Schrad.

Cucumis deliciosus Salisb.

Cucumis eriocarpus Boiss. & Noë

Cucumis erivanicus Steud. [Invalid]

Cucumis jamaicensis Bertero ex Spreng.

Cucumis jucunda F.Muell.

Cucumis laevigatus Chiov.

Cucumis maculatus Willd.

Cucumis microcarpus (Alef.) Pangalo

Cucumis microspermus Nakai

Cucumis moschatus Gray

Cucumis odoratissimus Moench

Cucumis odoratissimus W.M.Carp. & Riddell

Cucumis officinarum-melo Crantz

Cucumis orientalis Kudr.

Cucumis pancherianus Naudin

Cucumis pedatifidus Schrad.

Cucumis persicodorus Seitz

Cucumis persicus (Sarg.) M.Roem.

Cucumis pictus Jacq.

Cucumis princeps Wender.

Cucumis pseudocolocynthis Royle

Cucumis pubescens Willd.

Cucumis pyriformis Roxb. ex Wight & Arn.

Cucumis reflexus Zeyh. ex Ser.

Cucumis reginae Schrad.

Cucumis schraderianus M.Roem.

Cucumis serotinus Haberle ex Seitz

Cucumis trigonus Roxb.

Cucumis turbinatus Roxb.

Cucumis umbilicatus Salisb.

Cucumis utilissimus Roxb.

Cucumis villosus Boiss. & Noë

Cucurbita aspera Sol. ex G.Forst.

Ecballium lambertianum M.Roem.

Melo × ambiguua Pangalo

Melo adana (Pangalo) Pangalo

Melo adzhur Pangalo

Melo ameri Pangalo

Melo cassaba Pangalo

Melo chandalak Pangalo

Melo chate Sageret ex M.Roem.

Melo chinensis Pangalo

Melo figari Pangalo

Melo microcarpus (Alef.) Pangalo

Melo monoclinus Pangalo

Melo orientalis (Kudr.) Nabiev

Melo persicus Sageret

Melo sativus Sageret

Melo vulgaris Moench ex Cogn.

Melo zard Pangalo

Common Name: Melon

Cucumis melo
Flowers and young fruit
Photograph by: Fagg, M.
Image credit to Australian National Botanic Gardens
Cucumis melo Cucumis melo Cucumis melo

General Information

Cucumis melo is a climbing annual plant, producing stems around 1.5 metres long that sprawl along the ground or into other plants where they attach themselves by means of tendrils.
The plant is widely cultivated for its edible fruit, in both gardens and commercially, from the warm temperate zone to tropical areas.

Known Hazards

The sprouting seed produces a toxic substance in its embryo[
65
Title
A Colour Atlas of Poisonous Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Frohne. D. and Pfänder. J.
Publisher
Wolfe
Year
1984
ISBN
0723408394
Description
Brilliant. Goes into technical details but in a very readable way. The best work on the subject that I've come across so far.
].

Botanical References

200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.

Range

Probably native of Asia, though it has been in cultivation for so long its native habitat is obscure.

Habitat

Not known in a truly wild situation, though sometimes found as a weed of cultivated fields[
93
Title
Flora of Turkey.
Publication
 
Author
Davis. P. H.
Publisher
Edinburgh University Press
Year
1965
ISBN
-
Description
Not for the casual reader, this is an immense work in many volumes. Some details of plant uses and habitats.
], probably as an escape from gardens.

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *  *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *
HabitAnnual Climber
Height1.00 m
PollinatorsInsects
Self-fertileYes
Cultivation StatusCultivated

Cultivation Details

Melons are cultivated from the warm temperate zone through to the tropics, where they can be grown at elevations up to 1,000 metres. They grow best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 18 - 30°c, but can tolerate 9 - 35°c[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. They are killed by frost[
300
Title
Vegetables in the Tropics
Publication
 
Author
Tindall. H. D.
Publisher
MacMillan, Oxford.
Year
1983
ISBN
0-333-24268-8
Description
An excellent, in-depth look at the main vegetable crops that can be grown in the Tropics, plus many less well-known plants.
]. They prefer a mean annual rainfall in the range 1,000 - 1,300mm, but tolerate 900 - 2,500mm[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. They grow best in areas without too much rainfall or too high a humidity, since these conditions reduce fertilization and lead to diseases of the leaves[
300
Title
Vegetables in the Tropics
Publication
 
Author
Tindall. H. D.
Publisher
MacMillan, Oxford.
Year
1983
ISBN
0-333-24268-8
Description
An excellent, in-depth look at the main vegetable crops that can be grown in the Tropics, plus many less well-known plants.
].
Requires a rich, well-drained moisture retentive soil and a warm, very sunny position[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Prefers a pH in the range 6 - 7.5, tolerating 5 - 8.7[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
It takes 3 - 4 months to produce a crop from seed[
300
Title
Vegetables in the Tropics
Publication
 
Author
Tindall. H. D.
Publisher
MacMillan, Oxford.
Year
1983
ISBN
0-333-24268-8
Description
An excellent, in-depth look at the main vegetable crops that can be grown in the Tropics, plus many less well-known plants.
].
Individual plants are usually allowed to bear about four melons, and a crop of melons should yield about 5 - 30 tonnes/ha, with an average about 11 - 13 tonnes/ha[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
This is a very variable species that has long been cultivated for its edible fruit. As a result, a number of distinct forms have arisen and there are many named varieties within each of these forms[
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
,
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
,
183
Title
Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications
Year
1990
ISBN
0-9628087-0-9
Description
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
]. These forms have been classified by botanists into groups as detailed below. Each of these groups has been given a separate entry in the database.
Cucumis melo agrestis. A wild form of the melon. It is not usually grown for its fruit but is of potential value in breeding programmes.
Cucumis melo cantalupensis. The cantaloupe or netted melons.
Cucumis melo chito. The orange melon. This form occasionally escapes from cultivation and is naturalized in some tropical and sub-tropical areas.
Cucumis melo conomon. The pickling or sweet melon. This form is also of value in breeding programmes for disease resistance.
Cucumis melo dudaim. The pocket melon.
Cucumis melo flexuosus. The serpent melon.
Cucumis melo inodorus. The honeydew melon.
Cucumis melo momordica. The snap melon. This form is also of value in breeding programmes for pest and disease resistance.

Edible Uses

Fruit - raw[
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
,
2
Title
Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Hedrick. U. P.
Publisher
Dover Publications
Year
1972
ISBN
0-486-20459-6
Description
Lots of entries, quite a lot of information in most entries and references.
,
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
,
105
Title
Tanaka's Cyclopedia of Edible Plants of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Tanaka. T. & Nakao S.
Publisher
Keigaku Publishing; Tokyo
Year
1976
ISBN
-
Description
The most comprehensive list of edible plants I've come across. Only the briefest entry for each species, though, and some of the entries are more than a little dubious. Not for the casual reader.
]. Very watery but with a delicate flavour, it is very refreshing. Rich in vitamins B and C[
201
Title
A - Z of Companion Planting.
Publication
 
Author
Allardice.P.
Publisher
Cassell Publishers Ltd.
Year
1993
ISBN
0-304-34324-2
Description
A well produced and very readable book.
]. The flesh of the fruit can be dried, ground into a powder and used with cereals when making bread, biscuits etc[
257
Title
Native American Ethnobotany
Publication
 
Author
Moerman. D.
Publisher
Timber Press. Oregon.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-88192-453-9
Description
Very comprehensive but terse guide to the native uses of plants. Excellent bibliography, fully referenced to each plant, giving a pathway to further information. Not for the casual reader.
]. The size of the fruit varies widely between cultivars but is up to 10cm long and 7cm wide[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].

Seed - raw[
57
Title
Plants for Man.
Publication
 
Author
Schery. R. W.
Publisher
 
Year
 
ISBN
 
Description
Fairly readable but not very comprehensive. Deals with plants from around the world.
,
86
Title
Gourds.
Publication
 
Author
Organ. J.
Publisher
Faber
Year
1963
ISBN
-
Description
Deals with squashes and their relatives. Interesting and readable, it gives cultivation techniques and some details of plant uses.
,
105
Title
Tanaka's Cyclopedia of Edible Plants of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Tanaka. T. & Nakao S.
Publisher
Keigaku Publishing; Tokyo
Year
1976
ISBN
-
Description
The most comprehensive list of edible plants I've come across. Only the briefest entry for each species, though, and some of the entries are more than a little dubious. Not for the casual reader.
]. Rich in oil with a nutty flavour but very fiddly to use because the seed is small and covered with a fibrous coat[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
]. The seed contains between 12.5 - 39.1% oil[
218
Title
Medicinal Plants of China
Publication
 
Author
Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S.
Publisher
Reference Publications, Inc.
Year
1985
ISBN
0-917256-20-4
Description
Details of over 1,200 medicinal plants of China and brief details of their uses. Often includes an analysis, or at least a list of constituents. Heavy going if you are not into the subject.
].

An edible oil is obtained from the seed[
105
Title
Tanaka's Cyclopedia of Edible Plants of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Tanaka. T. & Nakao S.
Publisher
Keigaku Publishing; Tokyo
Year
1976
ISBN
-
Description
The most comprehensive list of edible plants I've come across. Only the briefest entry for each species, though, and some of the entries are more than a little dubious. Not for the casual reader.
,
183
Title
Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications
Year
1990
ISBN
0-9628087-0-9
Description
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
].

Medicinal

The fruits can be used as a cooling light cleanser or moisturiser for the skin[
201
Title
A - Z of Companion Planting.
Publication
 
Author
Allardice.P.
Publisher
Cassell Publishers Ltd.
Year
1993
ISBN
0-304-34324-2
Description
A well produced and very readable book.
]. They are also used as a first aid treatment for burns and abrasions[
201
Title
A - Z of Companion Planting.
Publication
 
Author
Allardice.P.
Publisher
Cassell Publishers Ltd.
Year
1993
ISBN
0-304-34324-2
Description
A well produced and very readable book.
].

The flowers are expectorant and emetic[
218
Title
Medicinal Plants of China
Publication
 
Author
Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S.
Publisher
Reference Publications, Inc.
Year
1985
ISBN
0-917256-20-4
Description
Details of over 1,200 medicinal plants of China and brief details of their uses. Often includes an analysis, or at least a list of constituents. Heavy going if you are not into the subject.
].

The fruit is stomachic[
218
Title
Medicinal Plants of China
Publication
 
Author
Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S.
Publisher
Reference Publications, Inc.
Year
1985
ISBN
0-917256-20-4
Description
Details of over 1,200 medicinal plants of China and brief details of their uses. Often includes an analysis, or at least a list of constituents. Heavy going if you are not into the subject.
].

The seed is antitussive, digestive, febrifuge and vermifuge[
218
Title
Medicinal Plants of China
Publication
 
Author
Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S.
Publisher
Reference Publications, Inc.
Year
1985
ISBN
0-917256-20-4
Description
Details of over 1,200 medicinal plants of China and brief details of their uses. Often includes an analysis, or at least a list of constituents. Heavy going if you are not into the subject.
]. When used as a vermifuge, the whole seed complete with the seed coat is ground into a fine flour, then made into an emulsion with water and eaten. It is then necessary to take a purge in order to expel the tapeworms or other parasites from the body[
7
Title
Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Chiej. R.
Publisher
MacDonald
Year
1984
ISBN
0-356-10541-5
Description
Covers plants growing in Europe. Also gives other interesting information on the plants. Good photographs.
].

The root is diuretic and emetic[
218
Title
Medicinal Plants of China
Publication
 
Author
Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S.
Publisher
Reference Publications, Inc.
Year
1985
ISBN
0-917256-20-4
Description
Details of over 1,200 medicinal plants of China and brief details of their uses. Often includes an analysis, or at least a list of constituents. Heavy going if you are not into the subject.
].

The leaves are used to treat scrotal hernias[
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
].

Agroforestry Uses:

Grows well with corn and sunflowers but dislikes potatoes[
20
Title
Companion Planting for Successful Gardening.
Publication
 
Author
Riotte. L.
Publisher
Garden Way, Vermont, USA.
Year
1978
ISBN
0-88266-064-0
Description
Fairly good.
,
201
Title
A - Z of Companion Planting.
Publication
 
Author
Allardice.P.
Publisher
Cassell Publishers Ltd.
Year
1993
ISBN
0-304-34324-2
Description
A well produced and very readable book.
]. The weeds fat hen and sow thistle improve the growth and cropping of melons[
201
Title
A - Z of Companion Planting.
Publication
 
Author
Allardice.P.
Publisher
Cassell Publishers Ltd.
Year
1993
ISBN
0-304-34324-2
Description
A well produced and very readable book.
].

Other Uses

The seed oil is used as a humectant and skin conditioner in commercial cosmetic preparations[
1243
Title
CosIng
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ec.europa.eu/growth/tools-databases/cosing/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
CosIng is the European Commission database for information on cosmetic substances and ingredients.
].

Propagation

Seed - can be sown in situ or in containers. Germination should take place within 2 weeks. When using containers, sow 2 or 3 seeds per pot and thin out to the best plant. Grow them on fast and plant out when about 15cm tall[
300
Title
Vegetables in the Tropics
Publication
 
Author
Tindall. H. D.
Publisher
MacMillan, Oxford.
Year
1983
ISBN
0-333-24268-8
Description
An excellent, in-depth look at the main vegetable crops that can be grown in the Tropics, plus many less well-known plants.
].
Cite as: Tropical Plants Database, Ken Fern. tropical.theferns.info. 2019-08-19. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Cucumis+melo>

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