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  • WatermelonsPosted 5 years ago under Uncategorized

    Watermelon is a juicy fruit that provides a great source of hydration as it contains 91% water and electrolytes. It helps balance the pH level in the body and has been linked to the prevention of various diseases. It helps detox the body and hydrate the skin, in part because of its high lycopene content. In fact, watermelons have more lycopene than any other fruit available. All of these benefits are just a few that watermelon can provide. (1)

    Taxonomy

    Watermelon grows on the Citrullus lanatus plant.

    Kingdom (Plantae) –> Angiosperms –> Eudicots –> Rosids –> Order (Cucurbitales) –> Family (Cucurbitaceae) –> Genus (Citrullus) –> Species (Citrullus lanatus)

    Description

    Watermelons grow on vines along the ground. Flowers are yellow and either male or female while the leaves are a dark green and lobed. The fruits are green with white bands and can be seeded or seedless. The inside flesh can be red or yellow depending on the variety, and sweet in flavor. These fruits ripen on the vine. (2)

    Distribution

    Watermelon originated in Africa but now grows in temperate climates around the world. It requires a long growing season as well as warm temperatures to grow. It does not tolerate frost well at all. It thrives under full sun in sandy or loamy soil that is well-drained and slightly acidic. (3)

    Nutritional Information

    Watermelon is a fruit rich in important nutrients including vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It is high in vitamin A, B vitamins, vitamin C, potassium, copper, manganese, and iron. It is a great source of electrolytes and flavonoids such as lycopene, lutein, beta-carotene, zeaxanthin and cryptoxanthin as well. Watermelon has been linked to fighting the effects of various cancers. It also helps lower blood pressure and prevent stroke and heart diseases. (4)

    Commercial Cultivation

    Watermelon is a popular crop around the world. In fact, the U.S. alone produces about four billion pounds of watermelon a year. The largest producers of watermelon in the United States are Florida, California, Texas, Georgia, and Indiana while the largest producer worldwide is China. Watermelons are harvested during the summer and early fall. (5)

    Diseases, Pests, Predators

    Watermelons are susceptible to some common pests and diseases including aphids, cucumber beetles, squash vine borer moths, and fusarium wilt. They also are susceptible to rot because of prolonged contact with wet ground. To prevent this, it is recommended that growers put cardboard or straw underneath watermelons as they ripen. (6)

    Sources

    (1) http://www.organiclifestylemagazine.com/issue/16-everything-you-should-know-about-watermelon/
    (2) http://www.botanical-online.com/english/melon.htm
    (3) http://www.almanac.com/plant/watermelon
    (4) http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/watermelon.html
    (5) http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=31#historyuse
    (6) http://www.almanac.com/plant/watermelon

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