For years people have debated whether watermelon is a fruit or a vegetable. Decide for yourself based on the facts below.
Watermelon is a Fruit
Like the pepper, tomato, and pumpkin, watermelon is a fruit, botanically. It is the fruit of a plant originally from a vine of southern Africa. Loosely considered a type of melon (although not in the genus Cucumis), watermelon has a smooth exterior rind and a juicy, sweet interior flesh.
Watermelon is a Vegetable
Watermelon is a member of the cucurbitaceae plant family of gourds (classified as Citrullus lantus), related to the cucumber, squash, and pumpkin (Maynard, 2001). It is planted from seeds or seedlings, harvested, and then cleared from the field like other vegetables.
According to Webster’s dictionary, a vegetable is anything made or obtained from plants (2004). Since watermelon is grown as a vegetable crop using vegetable production systems, watermelon is considered a vegetable (Wolford, 2004).
How Watermelon is used as a Fruit or a Vegetable
Watermelon is popularly used as a fruit, to be a sweet enhancer or fun accompaniment to everyday meals. Like other fruits, it is commonly cubed, balled, sliced and enjoyed fresh.
In places like China, the outer rind of the watermelon is used as a vegetable – stir-fried, stewed and often pickled. Pickled watermelon rind also is widespread in Russia, not to mention in the southern United States.
The scientific name of watermelon is Citrullus lanatus. It is a member of the cucurbitaceae family. Life; Embryophyta (plants); Angiospermae (flowering plants); Order: Cucurbitales (pumpkin and melon family); Family: Cucurbitaceae.
About 120 genera and 735 species of Cucurbitaceae exist worldwide, with 18 genera and 76 species native to southern Africa. Hubbard squash, butternut, pumpkin, sweet melons and cucumber are included in the “Cucurbit” family.
All a Matter of Perspective
Watermelon can be considered a fruit or a vegetable. No matter which way you slice it, watermelon is versatile, healthy and conveniently available year-round!
For the full overview and resources, download “Watermelon – Fruit or Vegetable?”