A melon (Cucumis melo; Muskmelon, Family Cucurbitaceae) is the fruit and plant of typically vine-like (climbers and trailers) herbs that first started being cultivated more than 4000 years ago (~ 2000 BC) in Persia and Africa. Its fruit is an accessory fruit called a false berry. Many different cultivars have been produced, the most popular being cantaloupe and honeydew.

The watermelon while also a cucurbit, is of the genus Citrullus.

The subspecies Cucumis melo melo includes numerous interfertile cultivar groups (sometimes as varieties):

  • Cantalupensis Group includes the true cantaloupe with skin that is rough and warty, not netted. Also called the European cantaloupe. This melon is not cultivated in North America. Listed sometimes as Cucumis melo cantalupensis.

  • Chito Group is the Garden lemon. Also known as the chate of Egypt, mango melon, lemon melon, orange melon, apple melon, or vine peach. Listed sometimes as Cucumis melo melo chito.

  • Conomon Group is the oriental pickling melon; it is also known as the sweet melon, Chekiang melon, or Chinese white cucumber.

  • Dudaim Group is the apple melon; it is also known as the fragrant melon, pocket melon, Queen Anne's pocket melon, vine pomegranate, plum granny, dudaim melon). Listed sometimes within Cucumis melo melo var. chito.

  • Flexuosus Group is the Armenian cucumber; also known as the snake melon, serpent cucumber, snake cucumber, serpent melon, or oriental cucumber.

  • Inodorus Group includes honeydew, crenshaw, casaba, winter melon, American melon, fragrant melon, or Oriental sweet melon. These have smooth rinds and do not have a musky odor. It is the third most popular type of melon, after the watermelon and cantaloupe. Honeydew has a smooth, white rind and sweet green flesh. When eaten, the texture is similar to a cantaloupe, but the flavor more subtle and sweeter. Classified sometimes as Cucumis melo inodorus.

  • Makuwa Group is the Japanese cantaloupe.

  • Reticulatus Group includes muskmelon, netted melon, and cantaloupe (US) of commerce, although this is not the true cantaloupe. Other common names are nutmeg melon, american cantaloupe, false cantaloupe, and Persian melon. These are the most popular melons cultivated in commerce. Classified as Cucumis melo melo var. cantalupensis by some authors. This group includes the recently rediscovered Montreal melon.

The culture of honeydew and cantaloupe requires a good deal of readily available water for irrigation, and long, hot summers. These melons are susceptible to fungal infections by fusarium and verticillium wilts, as well as a bacterial wilt transmitted by the cucumber beetle.

References and External links