English Name: Watermelon
Botanical Name: Citrullus vulgaris / lanatus
Igbo Name: Egusi beeke
Yoruba Name: Egusi Olomi
DESCRIPTION: A massive round green fruit when cut open often reveals a deep red watery sweet pulp that seems to dissolve in the mouth contains alot of seeds but also has a variety of yellow watery sweet pulp as well.
ORIGIN: Watermelon comes from the diminutive form of citrus, referring to the colour and shape of the fruit, and vulgaris meaning common or ordinary fruit. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out where its English common name, Watermelon, comes from. Native to Africa, it was a valuable and portable source of water for desert situations and when natural water supplies were contaminated. It was said to have originated from Africa in the deserts of Kalahari. It grows abundantly in this region. The ancestors of the watermelon called it Tsamma melon, watermelon is still found in the Kalahari desert even till today.
Biologists claim that the fruit has to be the native of the African continent only. It was recorded that some of the African slaves who went to the United States brought along the Tsamma melon, and that it how it started growing in Baja in California. Watermelon was being cultivated in the African continent as early as 2000—2500 BC. Some of the hieroglyphics found in the pyramids of Egypt showing watermelon as a fruit it was shown that people enjoyed eating it, and they even placed it in the tomb for their Kings or Queens it is considered to nourish their after life when they need it. The seeds were also found in Tutankhamen’s tomb.
However, in those days no other region apart from the Mediterranean regions knew about the fruit. It was later taken to China at the end of the 9th century and the cultivation soon began there and also became a preferred fruit. Today, China is the top producer of the fruit in the entire world. Several other countries like, Asia countries, northern parts of India, African countries, etc. cultivate watermelon.
NATURAL BENEFITS: Wish to quench thirst? , reboost your body with antioxidant?, Lycopene and vitamin A ? then watermelon is the answer. It contains a lot of phyto–nutrients as well. Studies show it prevents lung and oval cavity cancers it also contains other vitamins like: B6, B1 etc.
USES: Served as a good fruit salad when it’s nearly sliced, prepped and cut into cubes used to make watermelon puddings, smoothies, fruit juice, jam etc.