The Twenty Types Of Melons You Might Not Know Exists

Many species of melons are found, but they belong to four genera: Benincasa, Citrullus, Cucumis, and Momordica.

Their distinctive characteristic is the fleshy, edible fruit. Although botanically melons are fruits, some are also used as vegetables in cooking. Many cultivars of melons are grown worldwide. Their origin can be traced back to Africa and southwest Asia. Most of them are eaten fresh, or used in fruit salads, desserts, or custards.

Nutritive Benefits
Melons are literally packed with nutrition. They contain dietary fiber, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium. Also, their high water content makes them excellent diuretics. Even the seeds have medicinal properties.

Binomial Name: Citrullus lanatus

One of the most popular types of melons, watermelon is a vine-like, flowering plant. The fruit has a thick green skin along with a red, orange, or yellow fleshy center. The flesh is very juicy and sweet. It is eaten especially in summers, as it has a high water content. It originates from southern Africa, but is grown all over the world now. There are many varieties of watermelons, some weighing less than 1 kg to others weighing around 90 kg.


Binomial Name: Cucumis melo

Also known as: Cantelope, cantaloup, rockmelon, sweet melon, Persian melon, spanspek (South Africa), or Garmak

It is the most popular melon in the United States. Its size ranges from 500 g to 5 kg. Many varieties of cantaloupe are grown and eaten all over the world. It is usually eaten as a fresh fruit or in a salad. It is also served as a dessert with custard or ice cream.

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Binomial Name: Cucumis sativus

It is a creeping vine that bears cylindrical fruits. The fruit can be as large as 24 inches long and 3.9 inches in diameter. It has a mild, light melon taste and little bitterness. The bitterness varies, sometimes even in the same plant. There are three main varieties of cucumber: slicing, pickling, and burpless. They are eaten as vegetables and used in salads.

Horned Melon

Binomial Name: Cucumis metuliferus

Also known as: Kiwano, African horned cucumber or melon, jelly melon, hedged gourd, melano, blowfish fruit

It gets its name from the horn-like spikes. Fruits have lime-green flesh and yellow-orange skin. The texture is very similar to that of a cucumber. The taste is tart-like, and often described as a combination of cucumber and zucchini.
Crenshaw Melon

Binomial Name: Cucumis melo

A variety of muskmelon, it is a hybrid melon with a sweet, juicy, orange flesh. It has a slightly ribbed, greenish-yellow skin. It is ovoid in shape. Crenshaw melons are very popular, as their flesh is very sweet. They are usually eaten fresh as a snack or in fruit salads.

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Binomial Name: Cucumis melo

A cultivar of muskmelon, its sweet, juicy flesh is very popular all over the world as a dessert. The flesh is pale green in color, and the skin is very smooth and is greenish or yellow in color. The shape is round or oval. It is around 6 – 9 inches long and weighs from 1.8 – 3.6 kg.
Maroon Cucumber

Binomial Name: Cucumis anguria

Also known as: Bur cucumber, bur gherkin, cackrey, gooseberry gourd, maroon cucumber, West Indian gherkin, and West Indian gourd

It is a thin vine and the fruits are ovoid in shape. Originally from Africa, it is now cultivated in many parts of the world. The fruits are very similar to cucumber, but are slightly smaller in size. The flesh is green in color, and the skin is thick and has long hair and spines.


Binomial Name: Momordica cochinchinensis

Gac is primarily a Southeast Asian fruit. It is not very abundant as it has a short harvest season. The seeds of the fruit are rich in flavor and are cooked with rice in Vietnam. Its juice is becoming popular outside Asia, as it is very high in nutrients.
Bitter Melon

Binomial Name: Momordica charantia

Also known as: Bitter gourd or bitter squash

It is a vine that’s widely grown in Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean. Its fruit is edible, but very bitter. There are many varieties, which differ in bitterness and size. It is eaten as a vegetable. It originated on the Indian subcontinent.

Winter Melon

Binomial Name: Benincasa hispida

Also known as: White gourd, winter gourd, tallow gourd, Chinese preserving melon, or ash gourd


It is a vine, which grows very large fruits. The fruits are eaten as vegetables. They can grow up to 80 cm long. It originated in Southeast Asia, but is now grown in East and South Asia. It is commonly eaten in winters.
Sprite Melon

Binomial Name: Cucumis melo

Originally from Japan and similar to honeydew, its cultivation in North Carolina made it very popular. It has a round shape and contains seeds. The flesh is firm, juicy, and sweet. In fact it is 25 – 30% sweeter than other melons. It is eaten for dessert. The skin is ivory in color and develops brown markings when ripe.

Korean Melon

Binomial Name: Cucumis melo L. var. makuwa

Korean melon is smaller than the other melons. It grows 10 cm long and weighs less than one kilogram. It has a juicy and sweet flesh. The flesh is white in color and has a distinctive flavor. The outer skin is smooth, yellow, and has white stripes along its length. The fruits are eaten fresh and can be consumed whole at once.
Canary Melon

Binomial Name: C. melo (Inodorus group)

It is named canary, as it resembles the bright yellow color of a canary. It is a large, bright-yellow melon. It has an elongated shape, and the flesh is pale green or white. It has a prominent sweet flavor and tastes like cantaloupe. Many smaller varieties of this melon are also found. It is popularly eaten as a dessert or snack.

Binomial Name: Momordica dioica

Also known as: Spiny gourd, kartole, thumba, etc.

It is a species of flowering plant in the gourd family. It is eaten as a vegetable and is popular in India and some parts of South Asia. It has a lot of commercial importance.
Charentais Melon

Binomial Name: Cucumis melo var. cantalupensis

It is a type of cantaloupe, but has a more fragrant smell. It is comparatively a small variety of melon. Although first developed in France in 1920, it is produced in North Africa on a large scale. It also has limited production in the United States.
Bailan Melon

Binomial Name: N.A.

It is a very popular variety of melon in China. It is grown near Lanzhou, the capital city of Gansu province. The flesh is light green or yellow, sometimes orange or even white. The bailan melon resembles the honeydew melon in appearance.
Hami Melon

Binomial Name: Cucumis melo var. saccharinus

Also known as: Chinese Hami melon, snow melon

This melon originates from Hami, Xinjiang. It is also referred to as the Chinese Hami melon. The flesh is very sweet and crisp. It has a very distinctive taste. The skin is usually white, but can be yellow or greenish as well.
Sugar Melon

Binomial Name: N.A.

It is a type of cantaloupe. It weighs around 1 – 2 kg, and has a round shape. It has a thick, orange-colored flesh and a silvery gray, ribbed exterior. It usually has a diameter of 5 – 6 inches. It has a characteristic sweet taste.

Binomial Name: Cucumis melo var. reticulatus

Also known as: Sarda in Southeast Asia

Galia is a hybrid melon, which weighs around one kilogram and has a round shape. It has a very sweet taste and an aromatic flavor. It was first developed in Israel, but is now grown in Spain, Portugal, Pakistan, Greece, and Turkey.
Santa Claus Melons

Piel de Sapo melons whole and sliced

Binomial Name: Cucumis melo, Inodorus group

Also known as: Christmas melon or piel de sapo

It is oval in shape and about a foot in length, has a thick, green-striped outer rind, pale green to white inner flesh with a mild melon flavor, and sweetness close to honeydew melons. It is usually eaten for breakfast, dinner, or just as a snack.


Written by How Africa News

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