Are cucumbers related to melons appears to be a strange question but is often asked. Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus), cucumber (Cucumis sativus), and melon (Cucumis melo) are all Old World fruits (primarily African Origin and Asia).
Squashes, pumpkins, and gourds (mainly of the genus Cucurbita) are in the same family called cucurbits (Cucurbitaceae); however, they are only distantly related and made up some of the earliest cultivated plants. Cucurbita species are native to the New World (primarily Central and South America).
Watermelon, cucumber, and melon plants are frost-sensitive annuals with trailing or vining tendrils. They are typically monoecious (meaning they have separate staminate and pistillate flowers, which are sometimes referred to as male and female flowers) and require pollination by various insects, including bees.
In our guide, you can learn about these phylogenetic relationships. How close are watermelons and cucumbers related, and does it matter in the garden? By the end, you’ll have more than enough insight to know how these closely related species can grow together.
Is Cucumber Considered A Melon?
If you were given a cucumber and a melon, you could quickly tell which was the cucumber and which was the melon. However, there have been various investigations on the link between cucumbers and melons, leading to the debate of whether cucumbers are melons.
The short answer is no, although they are also members of the cucurbits species, which means they are closely related and share many characteristics. (Read Why Are My Cucumbers Bitter)
Here you can learn a bit of the natural history of each:
The Cucurbitaceae Family
Cucurbitaceae are flowering plants with edible fruits that include the gourd family. This family has 98 genera and many species (975 variants). They are native to tropical regions, primarily Africa (African Cucumis) and several Asian countries, but they may also grow and thrive in temperate climates with moderate rainfall, pleasant summers, and cool winters.
Cucumis, which includes cucumbers and melons, is one of the largest and most frequent genus in the Cucurbitaceae family. Cucumis species are known for their twining and tendril-bearing characteristics, common vine characteristics. Cucumbers are called Cucumis sativus, and melons are called Cucumis melo var.
Cucumis sativus (Cucumbers)
Cucumbers are a typical vegetable with crisp, green color. Cucumbers have been shown to be fruits, despite their association with vegetables because of their use in salads and pickling cucumbers.
Fruits, according to science, are plants that sprout from a flower and contain the plant’s seeds, and cucumbers meet both criteria, making them fruits.
Cucumbers are also a popular ingredient in healthy and weight-loss dishes because of their low sugar content, low calorie, and high fiber content.
Cucumbers are also a common element in skincare products and see world production. Because cucumbers are beneficial for keeping skin hydration and reducing dark circles and dark spots, many skincare businesses offer cucumber-centered or cucumber-infused products.
Cucumis melo (Melons)
Melons are frost-tender, which means they are susceptible to freezing temperatures and are compatible with the Cucurbitaceae Family’s available features. The size, color, shape, texture, and flavor of melon fruit vary widely depending on the variety.
Although cucumbers come in various colors and shapes, the variances and distinctions between melons are considerably more apparent.(Read Cucumber Plant Leaves Turning White – What To Do)
Melons, like cucumbers, are recognized to be helpful for weight loss because of their low sugar, low calorie, and high fiber content. When ripe, certain melons taste sweet, but they contain less sugar than others, which is why some people use different melons in their weight-loss diet.
Melons, unlike cucumbers, are not mistaken for vegetables because of their appearance, but some are treated the same because of their flavor. Here are a few of the most common melons:
Japan and China are just some of the many countries with an extensive production of watermelons. Its green exterior characterizes watermelons with a stripped or alternating light and dark green and red interior.
They’re also known to aid with skin inflammation, collagen formation, and skin rejuvenation. In addition, due to it being 90% water, they are great thirst quenchers.
Cantaloupes are types of melons that have two types: European Cantaloupes and North American Cantaloupe. Although cantaloupes are rich in vitamin A, vitamin C and are suitable for the skin and hair, they are not commonly used in skincare products.
The North American type has a green and white net-like exterior and a sweet and orange interior. European Cantaloupes are believed to have originated from Italy, hence the name Cantaloupe from the city Cantalupo.
The long shelf life of winter melons is well-known. Winter melons are popular in China and, like cucumber, are frequently used in vegetable dishes.
Winter melon tea is made by combining sliced or juiced winter melon with a sweetener such as sugar or honey, as well as milk. The white flesh is mostly bland compared to others.
Is A Cucumber A Melon Or A Berry?
Botanists employ botanical classification to show the different plants based on the plant’s physiological properties, such as structure, function, and organization.
A ‘fruit,’ in botanical terms, is a seed-bearing product that arises from the ovaries of a flowering plant, or, to put it another way, a fruit is a plant’s technique of dispersing its seeds.
A botanical fruit comprises at least one seed and grows from the plant’s blossom.
Cucumbers and melons belong to the genus cucumis; thus, cucumbers fit this description as a fruit under this classification because they contain seeds in the center and grow from the cucumber plant’s blossom.
Most plants in these varieties have tendrils present at most leaf petioles, and wild relatives offer thorny shrubs to contend with. Flowers are unisexual and have male and female flowers on the same plant or different plants.
However, in botanical terms, a vegetable does not have a specific definition. Still, it’s a broad term that includes all of the plant’s edible parts, including the roots, stems, and leaves.
Growing Cucumbers And Melons
Cucumbers, Melons, and more of these families have many similarities. Here you can find a quick overview of growing in your garden to the stage your cucumbers; melons bear fruit and are commonly eaten raw. Both offer many health benefits, although cucumber has better anti-inflammatory properties.
Cucumbers, melons, and other vegetables like West Indian Gherkin are all grown in similar ways, and the seeds seem remarkably similar, making it challenging to identify immature seedlings differently. Cucumber and melon plants should be started indoors in the early spring and then transplanted into the ground once the soil temperature reaches at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cucumbers and melons prefer full sun and require well-drained soil with a neutral or slightly alkaline pH level.
To produce luscious fruit, the plants require a lot of water, so you need to water deeply at least once a week and fertilize with potassium and phosphorus.
Cucumbers and melons don’t require a lot of nitrogen, and if they’re planted in soil with a lot of nitrogen, they’ll grow more vegetation instead of fruit. If you grow any Armenian cucumber, you’ll find these have thin, light green skin and only require washing before eating.
Pests And Diseases
Cucumbers and melons grown too close together, risk being infested by insects and illnesses. Cucumber beetles, aphids, and flea beetles are all pests that attack cucumbers and melons. In addition, powdery mildew, bacterial wilt, and fungal leaf spot are among diseases that can affect them.
According to legend, cucumbers and melons can cross-pollinate and create unusual fruit. While these worries are valid, cucumbers and melons are not capable of cross-pollination.
Some species of cucurbits can pollinate each other, but only the closest living relative plant of the same species can do so. Cross-pollination between zucchini and pumpkins is more widespread. The fruit will be unaffected even if cross-pollination happens. However, if you take the fruit’s seeds and nurture them, the following generation of plants and fruit will have mixed ancestry.(Learn How To Preserve Cilantro)
Cucurbitaceae, sometimes known as melons, gourds, or cucurbits, is a plant family that contains cucumbers, squashes (including pumpkins), luffas, and melons (including watermelons).
Melon originated in Africa, as the family is mostly found in tropical areas. However, edible fruits were among the earliest cultivated plants in the Old and New Worlds in temperate regions and mild summers.
- Most of the plants in this family are annual vines, but woody lianas, thorny shrubs, and trees are also found (Dendrosicyos).
- The flowers of many species are big, golden, or white flowers.
- The stems have a hairy appearance and are pentangular.
- Tendrils are at nodes at a 90° angle to the leaf petioles.
- Exstipulate leaves are palmately complex or simple palmately lobed.
- Male and female flowers can be found on different plants (dioecious) or the same plant (unisexual) (monoecious).
- Female flowers have smaller ovaries than male blossoms.
- The fruit is usually a pepo, which is a modified berry.