WATERMELON (CITRULLUS LANATUS)
A member of the Curcubitaceae (cucumber) family, the watermelon (Turkish: karpuz) originates in the tropical regions of Africa. Watermelons were known in ancient Egypt, where they appear on frescos. From there they spread to the countries of the Mediterranean. Known in old Turkish as büken, the fruit was known to the Chinese as “western melon,” and to the Arabs as “Indian melon” (bıttîh-ı Hindi). Although not native to Central Asia, it is believed to have undergone its most important development here. The traveler Jenkinson, who travelled in the 16th century to the Khorezm region, wrote that the watermelons here were as sweet as sugar. Watermelon cultivation has spread throughout many regions of the world, and today there are nearly 500 varieties in cultivation. 20% of the world’s watermelons are raised in Turkey, especially in the region of Diyarbakır.
Reference: Priscilla Mary Işın, Türkiye Meyveciliğin Tarihi Mirası (The Historical Heritage of Fruit Culture in Turkey).
Some selected examples (please click on pictures to enlarge):