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Cucumis melo - L.

Common Name Melon, Cantaloupe
Family Cucurbitaceae
USDA hardiness 9-11
Known Hazards The sprouting seed produces a toxic substance in its embryo[65].
Habitats A weed of cultivated fields in Turkey[93]. Probably as an escape from gardens.
Range Probably native of Asia, though it has been in cultivation for so long its native habitat is obscure
Edibility Rating    (4 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Tender Moist Soil Full sun
Cucumis melo Melon, Cantaloupe

Cucumis melo Melon, Cantaloupe


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Cucumis melo is a ANNUAL CLIMBER growing to 1.5 m (5ft).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 10 and is frost tender. It is in flower from July to September, and the seeds ripen from August to October. The species is monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and is pollinated by Insects. The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.



 Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit;  Oil;  Seed.
Edible Uses: Oil.

Fruit - raw[1, 2, 46, 105]. Very watery but with a delicate flavour, it is very refreshing. Rich in vitamins B and C[201]. The flesh of the fruit can be dried, ground into a powder and used with cereals when making bread, biscuits etc[257]. The size of the fruit varies widely between cultivars but is up to 10cm long and 7cm wide[200]. Seed - raw[57, 86, 105]. Rich in oil with a nutty flavour but very fiddly to use because the seed is small and covered with a fibrous coat[K]. The seed contains between 12.5 - 39.1% oil[218]. An edible oil is obtained from the seed[105, 183].

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Antitussive;  Digestive;  Diuretic;  Emetic;  Expectorant;  Febrifuge;  Stomachic;  Vermifuge.

The fruits can be used as a cooling light cleanser or moisturiser for the skin[201]. They are also used as a first aid treatment for burns and abrasions[201]. The flowers are expectorant and emetic[218]. The fruit is stomachic[218]. The seed is antitussive, digestive, febrifuge and vermifuge[218]. 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]. The root is diuretic and emetic[218].

Other Uses


None known

Cultivation details

Requires a rich, well-drained moisture retentive soil and a warm, very sunny position[200]. A frost-tender annual plant, the melon is widely cultivated in gardens and commercially, especially in warmer climates than Britain, for its edible fruit. Some varieties may succeed outdoors in Britain in hot summers but in general it is best to grow melons under protection in this country[1, 200]. 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, 46, 183]. 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. C. melo agrestis. A wild form of the melon. It is not usually grown for its fruit but is of potential value in breeding programmes. C. melo cantalupensis. The cantaloupe or netted melons. C. melo chito. The orange melon. This form occasionally escapes from cultivation and is naturalized in some tropical and sub-tropical areas. C. melo conomon. The pickling or sweet melon. This form is also of value in breeding programmes for disease resistance. C. melo flexuosus. The serpent melon. C. melo inodorus. The honeydew melon. C. melo momordica. The snap melon. This form is also of value in breeding programmes for pest and disease resistance. Grows well with corn and sunflowers but dislikes potatoes[20, 201]. The weeds fat hen and sow thistle improve the growth and cropping of melons[201].


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Seed - sow early to mid spring in a greenhouse in a rich soil. Germination should take place within 2 weeks. Sow 2 or 3 seeds per pot and thin out to the best plant. Grow them on fast and plant out after the last expected frosts, giving them cloche or frame protection for at least their first few weeks if you are trying them outdoors.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Armenian cucumber, Dudaim melon, Cantalope, Queen Anne's melon, Muskmelon, Snake cucumber, Akobokobo, Akolil, Atimon, Blewah, Bluwak, Budamakaya, Chiratu, Chukkangai, Itimon, Kaachri, Kachri, Karitu, Kayimbe, Kharbuja, Kharbujadosa, Kharmuj, Kothimdu, Luwinbe, Madhupaka, Milon, Mpombe, Mulampazham, Musk-melon, Putzakova, Sane, Semangka londo, Syrian cucumber, Taena-thai, Teeng laay, Thumattikai, Trasak srow.

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Native to Iran, Anatolia and Armenia, with a secondary center including northwest India and Afghanistan. Afghanistan, Africa, Angola, Arabia, Asia, Australia, Bangladesh, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central Africa, Central African Republic, CAR, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Cook Islands, Côte d'Ivoire, East Africa, East Timor, Egypt, Equatorial-Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fiji, France, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Greece, Guiana, Guianas, Guinea, Guinée, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Hawaii, India, Indochina, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Ivory Coast, Japan, Kenya, Korea, Laos, Liberia, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mediterranean, Mexico, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, North Africa, North America, Northeastern India, Pacific, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, PNG, Philippines, Portugal, Reunion, Romania, Rwanda, SE Asia, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Southern Africa, Spain, South Africa, Southern Africa, South America, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Tasmania, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, USA, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, West Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Invasive in Arizona and California and potentially other locations with similar climates.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed.

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Cucumis anguriaGherkin, West Indian gherkin31
Cucumis melo agrestisWild Melon32
Cucumis melo cantalupensisCantaloupe Melon42
Cucumis melo chitoOrange Melon32
Cucumis melo conomonPickling Melon42
Cucumis melo flexuosusSerpent Melon42
Cucumis melo inodorusHoneydew Melon42
Cucumis melo momordicaSnap Melon42
Cucumis metuliferusHorned Cucumber, African horned cucumber22
Cucumis sativusCucumber, Garden cucumber42


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