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Casaba Melons Cucumis melo

Phonetic Spelling
KOO-koo-mis MEL-oh
Description

Cucumis melo, or Muskmelons, is a species that encompasses all melons, which are defined generally as a warm season climbing or scrambling vine with edible fruit in the Cucurbitaceae (cucumber) family. The species is typically divided into a number of varieties or subdivisions: canteloupensis (cantaloupe), reticulatus (netted or Persion melons), inodorous (late maturing melons), flexuosus (snake melon), chito (mangoes), dudaim (Queen Anne's pocket melon) and conomon (Asian pickling melon). The fruits in this species vary by cultivar in terms of shape, size, rind, texture, flavor and flesh color and provide the home gardener with many choices.

Muskmelons have sweeter more watery flesh than other members of the cucumber family.  Melons are probably native of Asia, although it has been in cultivation for so long that its native habitat is lost in time. The common name muskmelon comes from the musky odor many of the fruits emit when cut open.

This annual vine needs full sun and well-drained, loose, moist, high organic matter soils. It will grow in clay, but likely will need organic amendment to thrive. Consistent soil moisture and warm, sunny conditions are essential for this frost tender plant. Muskmelons are typically supported by cages or trellises, but if there is enough space, they can be allowed to trail along the ground. Plant seeds outdoors after the last spring frost or start the seeds indoors in pots or other containers about 4-6 weeks prior to the last spring frost date. Pick fruits when young (older fruits toughen as they mature).

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: 

Cucurbits are subject to many insect pests and diseases problems including cucumber beetles and wilt caused by cold weather stress.  

VIDEO Created by Homegrown featuring Penny Perkins-Veazie, Professor and Postharvest Physiologist at NC State's Plants for Human Health Institute

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
var. cantalupensis, var. chito, var. conomon, var. dudaim, var. flexuosus, var. inodorous, var. reticulatus
Tags:
#edible plant#scrambling#edible fruits#vegetable#annual vegetable#vine#warm season vegetable#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats#early childhood
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
var. cantalupensis, var. chito, var. conomon, var. dudaim, var. flexuosus, var. inodorous, var. reticulatus
Tags:
#edible plant#scrambling#edible fruits#vegetable#annual vegetable#vine#warm season vegetable#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats#early childhood
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Cucumis
    Species:
    melo
    Family:
    Cucurbitaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Edible fruit.
    Life Cycle:
    Annual
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Africa, Arabian Peninsula, India, Australia
    Distribution:
    World wide
    Play Value:
    Attracts Pollinators
    Edible fruit
    Climbing Method:
    Scrambler
    Tendrils
    Edibility:
    Eaten fresh, wrapped in prosciutto, in salads, or as a dessert. Watery, but delicate, flavor. Avoid the seeds as the sprouting seed produces a toxic substance in its embryo.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 6 ft. 0 in. - 9 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Annual
    Edible
    Vegetable
    Vine
    Warm Season Vegetable
    Habit/Form:
    Climbing
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Coarse
    Appendage:
    Tendrils
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4b, 4a, 5a, 5b, 6b, 6a, 7a, 7b, 8b, 8a, 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b, 11a, 11b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    White
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Musky-scented, spherical to oblong berry with a rind (pepo), often furrowed with yellow, white or green flesh and many seeds. The rind may be green, yellow, tan, beige or white and the surface may be smooth, rough, warty, scaly, or netted. Seeds white, about 1/2 inch long, narrow. Seeds ripen in August and September.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Cyme
    Solitary
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Saucer
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Bloom in July and August. Male or female, borne on the same plant (monoecious), often having some bisexual fowers, 1 inch across, with a five-parted corolla that is flat and circular in outline. The male flowers are usually borne in clusters, while the female flowers are usually borne solitary.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Rough
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Leaf Margin:
    Lobed
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Stalked leaves, 3 to 3 inches across, rounded to egg-shaped or nearly kidney-shaped with a rounded tip, often five-angled, sometimes shallowly three- to seven-lobed, wavy-toothed, hairy to somewhat rough.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Cross Section:
    Angular
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    Grooved to angled, softly hairy to hairless
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Vertical Spaces
    Landscape Theme:
    Cottage Garden
    Edible Garden
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Pollinators