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Cucumis melo - L.                
                 
Common Name Melon, Cantaloupe
Family Cucurbitaceae
Synonyms
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  
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Tender Moist Soil Full sun

Summary       

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 Jul to September, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October. The flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and are pollinated by Insects.The plant is self-fertile.


USDA hardiness zone : 9-11


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.

Cucumis melo Melon, Cantaloupe


http://www.flickr.com/photos/valter/
Cucumis melo Melon, Cantaloupe
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Pkuczynski
   
Habitats       
 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
Oil.

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].
                                                                                 
Propagation                                         
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.
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Expert comment                                         
 
      
Author                                         
L.
                                                                                 
Botanical References                                         
200
                                                                                 
Links / References                                         

  [K] Ken Fern Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.

[1]F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaces in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
[2]Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World.
Lots of entries, quite a lot of information in most entries and references.
[7]Chiej. R. Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants.
Covers plants growing in Europe. Also gives other interesting information on the plants. Good photographs.
[20]Riotte. L. Companion Planting for Successful Gardening.
Fairly good.
[46]Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants.
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
[57]Schery. R. W. Plants for Man.
Fairly readable but not very comprehensive. Deals with plants from around the world.
[86]Organ. J. Gourds.
Deals with squashes and their relatives. Interesting and readable, it gives cultivation techniques and some details of plant uses.
[93]Davis. P. H. Flora of Turkey.
Not for the casual reader, this is an immense work in many volumes. Some details of plant uses and habitats.
[105]Tanaka. T. Tanaka's Cyclopaedia of Edible Plants of the World.
The most comprehensive guide to edible plants I've come across. Only the briefest entry for each species, though, and some of the entries are more than a little dubious. Not for the casual reader.
[183]Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
[200]Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
[201]Allardice.P. A - Z of Companion Planting.
A well produced and very readable book.
[218]Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S. Medicinal Plants of China
Details of over 1,200 medicinal plants of China and brief details of their uses. Often includes an analysis, or at least a list of constituents. Heavy going if you are not into the subject.
[257]Moerman. D. Native American Ethnobotany
Very comprehensive but terse guide to the native uses of plants. Excellent bibliography, fully referenced to each plant, giving a pathway to further information. Not for the casual reader.

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