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**1. History and Origin of Melons:**
– Melons originated in Africa and the hot valleys of Southwest Asia.
– Ancient Egyptians cultivated melons, and they were later introduced to Europe by the Nuragic civilization of Sardinia.
– Melons were among the first plants domesticated in the Old World and brought to the New World by early European settlers.
– Native American tribes in New Mexico have a tradition of growing melon cultivars introduced by the Spanish.
– Efforts by organizations like Native Seeds/SEARCH aim to collect and preserve heritage melon seeds.

**2. Melon Varieties by Genus:**
– Benincasa: Winter melon is widely used in Asia for cooking and as a culinary fruit.
– Citrullus: Egusi, a wild melon, is valued for its seeds in Africa. Other species like Melothria sphaerocarpa and Lagenaria siceraria are also known as egusi.
– Cucumis: Culinary fruits in the Cucumis genus include most melon varieties. Notable varieties include Horned melon, Cantaloupes, and Honeydew melons.

**3. Melon Production Statistics:**
– In 2020, China led global melon production with 13.83 million tonnes.
– Turkey, India, and Iran each produced over 1 million tonnes of melons.
– Worldwide, melon production in 2018 totaled 27 million tonnes.
– Other significant melon-producing countries include the United States, Brazil, and Guatemala.
– Data source: FAOSTAT of the United Nations.

**4. Melon Cultivation and Genetic Diversity:**
– Melons are believed to have originated in the hot valleys of southwest Asia, specifically Iran and India.
Melon landraces in India contribute significantly to the diversity of melon.
– Studies on genetic diversity among melon accessions have been conducted using microsatellite markers.
– Archaeobotanical analysis of Bronze Age wells in Sardinia provides knowledge about ancient melon cultivation.
– University extensions like the one at Nebraska-Lincoln offer guidance on growing melons.

**5. Importance of Egusi Crops and Domestication of Plants:**
– Egusi crops like Citrullus lanatus and Cucumeropsis mannii are important in sociolinguistic areas in Benin.
– Practices related to Egusi crops play a crucial role in the agricultural practices of certain regions.
– Domestication of plants like melons originated in Southwest Asia, Europe, and the Mediterranean Basin.
– Historical texts highlight the significance of fruits like melons in various cultures.
– Sociolinguistic areas in Benin have a rich tradition of cultivating Egusi crops.

Melon (Wikipedia)

A melon is any of various plants of the family Cucurbitaceae with sweet, edible, and fleshy fruit. The word "melon" can refer to either the plant or specifically to the fruit. Botanically, a melon is a kind of berry, specifically a "pepo". The word melon derives from Latin melopepo, which is the latinization of the Greek μηλοπέπων (mēlopepōn), meaning "melon", itself a compound of μῆλον (mēlon), "apple", treefruit (of any kind)" and πέπων (pepōn), amongst others "a kind of gourd or melon". Many different cultivars have been produced, particularly of cantaloupes.

Canary melon and cantaloupe
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