Watermelon

Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) belongs to the curcurbitaceae family and is one of the most common types of melon. It is said to have originated in the Kalahari Desert of Africa and spread from there to countries along the Mediterranean Sea, China, Europe and the Americas. China is now the biggest watermelon producer. Until about 20 years ago, watermelon was a seasonal fruit but now it available almost year-round.

The fruit can be prepared and eaten in many ways, drinks, appetizers, dessert, and the rind can be used as a vegetable and aphrodisiac. Watermelon seeds are also used as a source of oilseed, eaten as snack or can be added to other dishes. Some varieties are grown mainly for seed production. In addition to nutritive value, watermelon is said to have medicinal value because of the high amount of lycopene and beta-carotene that it contains. The rind is also reported to contain citrulline that is important in treating cardio-vascular and impotency problems.

Watermelons grow best in sandy or sandy loam soils and prefer hot and dry climates. The main insect pests of watermelon are aphids, thrips, cucumber beetles, leaf miners, leaf hoppers, red spider mites and cutworms. It is commonly affected by anthracnose, downy mildew, Fusarium wilt, watermelon mosaic virus and root-knot nematodes.

Cucurbits, in general, and watermelons in particular, depend on bees for pollination. Natural enemies are also important to keep populations of insect pests like aphids and spider mites at low levels as not to cause damage. Hence, the use of biopesticides, soaps or oils rather than toxic chemical pesticides in combination with other strategies such as the use of resistant varieties and cultural practices are preferred.

More information about Watermelon can be found in: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watermelon

For more information about the performance of watermelon cultivars in relation to agro-ecological conditions, cultivation practices, the occurrence of pests and diseases and timing of the production, search the FAO data base at: http://www.fao.org/hortivar

Click the list below for more crop specific information

  1. General Information: Origin, distribution etc.

  2. Production / Productivity
  3. Watermelon pests / diseases
  4. Post Harvest: