NATIONAL WATERMELON DAY
National Watermelon Day on August 3rd recognizes the refreshing summertime treat enjoyed at picnics and fairs! Watermelon is 92% water, which is why it is so satisfying in the summer heat.
This vine-like flowering plant originated from southern Africa. While the word watermelon refers to both the fruit and the plant to botanists, the plant is a pepo. The pepo is a berry which has a thick rind (exocarp) and fleshy center (mesocarp and endocarp). Interestingly, pepos develop from an inferior ovary and are characteristic of the Cucurbitaceae.
While the watermelon fruit is loosely considered a type of melon, it’s not in the genus Cucumis. The smooth exterior usually has a dark green rind with stripes or yellow spots. The juicy, sweet interior flesh of the fruit ranges from deep red to pink. However, sometimes comes in orange, yellow, or white.
Since the melon holds plentiful water, desert dwellers likely first cultivated the melon. Another reason this is suspected is that wild melons were bitter and tasteless. Additional evidence of the watermelon’s value is supplied in the seeds and art found in tombs of Pharaohs. Over time, cultivation and breeding brought out the better qualities of sweet and tender fruit we enjoy today.
With proper growing conditions, watermelons grow to enormous sizes. Around the world, competitions award prizes each year for the largest one. The Guinness Book of World Records states that the heaviest watermelon weighed 262 pounds. To learn more refreshing watermelon facts, check out www.watermelon.org.
HOW TO OBSERVE
Pick up a delicious watermelon and slice it up. Invite the neighborhood over to share. While you’re enjoying the yummy fruit, have a watermelon seed spitting contest. Don’t forget to celebrate with the rest of the country! Post on social media using #NationalWatermelonDay.
Our research was unable to find the creator and origin of National Watermelon Day.
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