Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum. & Nakai

Selected images: Click on each image to see a larger version and details of the record View all images (12)

Citrullus lanatus

Photo: Bart Wursten
Chobe Camp, Ngoma

Citrullus lanatus

Photo: Bart Wursten
Chobe Camp, Ngoma

Detailed records: Display species records QDS maps by: Google Maps Point records by Google Maps

Species details: Click on each item to see an explanation of that item (Note: opens a new window)

Synonyms: Citrullus vulgaris Eckl. & Zeyh.
Colocynthis citrullus (L.) Kuntze
Cucurbita citrullus L.
Momordica lanata Thunb.
Common names: Water melon (English)
Status: Native and cultivated
Annual herb with prostrate or climbing stems up to 10 m long, covered in long spreading hairs, particularly when young. Tendrils 2-3-fid. Leaves more or less narrowly ovate in outline, up to 20 × 19 cm, usually deeply palmately 3-5 lobed with lobes elliptic in outline and often lobed again; hairy when young, particularly on the veins beneath, becoming roughly punctate when older; margins almost entire or obscurely and finely sinuate-dentate. Flowers solitary, axillary, yellow, unisexual on the same plant. Fruit smooth, in wild plants 1.5-20 cm long, greenish with darker mottling; cultivated fruits much larger and often more elongated ellipsoid, up to 60 × 30 cm.
Notes: This is the well-known watermelon, popular in cultivation.
Derivation of specific name: lanatus: covered in soft, intertwined hairs, woolly or lanate.
Habitat: Wild plants occur in Kalahari sand areas in grassland and scrubland, often along watercourses.
Flowering time:
Worldwide distribution: Cultivated throughout the warmer regions of the world and sometimes adventive. Native to the Kalahari sand region, including Botswana, Zambia and Western Zimbabwe.
Growth form(s):
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species:
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species
Content last updated: Sunday 26 May 2019

Da Silva, M.C., Izidine, S. & Amude, A.B. (2004). A preliminary checklist of the vascular plants of Mozambique. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 30 Sabonet, Pretoria Page 149.

Jeffrey, C. (1978). Cucurbitaceae Flora Zambesiaca 4 Pages 435 - 437. (Includes a picture).

Jeffrey, C. & Fernandes, R.B. (1986). 80. Cucurbitaceae Flora de Moçambique Junta de Investigaçoes de Ultramar, Centro de Botanica Pages 37 - 38.

Kirby, G. (2013). Wild Flowers of Southeast Botswana Struik Nature, Cape Town South Africa Page 161. (Includes a picture).

Mapaura, A. & Timberlake, J. (eds) (2004). A checklist of Zimbabwean vascular plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 33 Sabonet, Pretoria and Harare Page 38.

Phiri, P.S.M. (2005). A Checklist of Zambian Vascular Plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 32 Page 44.

Pooley, E. (1998). A Field Guide to the Wild Flowers of KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Region. Natal Flora Publications Trust. Durban. Pages 558 - 559. (Includes a picture).

Setshogo, M.P. (2005). Preliminary checklist of the plants of Botswana. Sabonet Report no. 37. Sabonet, Pretoria and Gaborone Page 52.

Timberlake, J.R. & Childes, S.L. (2004). Biodiversity of the Four Corners Area: Technical Reviews Volume Two (Chapter 5-15) Appendix 5-1: Plant Checklist Occasional Publications in Biodiversity 15 Page 205.

Van Wyk, B. & Malan, S. (1988). Field Guide to the Wild Flowers of the Witwatersrand and Pretoria Region Struik, Cape Town Pages 128 - 129. (Includes a picture).

Other sources of information about Citrullus lanatus:

Our websites:

Flora of Botswana: Citrullus lanatus
Flora of Botswana: cultivated Citrullus lanatus
Flora of Caprivi: cultivated Citrullus lanatus
Flora of Malawi: Citrullus lanatus
Flora of Malawi: cultivated Citrullus lanatus
Flora of Mozambique: Citrullus lanatus
Flora of Mozambique: cultivated Citrullus lanatus
Flora of Zambia: Citrullus lanatus
Flora of Zambia: cultivated Citrullus lanatus
Flora of Zimbabwe: Citrullus lanatus
Flora of Zimbabwe: cultivated Citrullus lanatus

External websites:

African Plants: A Photo Guide (Senckenberg): Citrullus lanatus
BHL (Biodiversity Heritage Library): Citrullus lanatus
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Citrullus lanatus
ePIC (electronic Plant Information Center): Citrullus lanatus
Flora Zambesiaca web site: Citrullus lanatus
GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility): Citrullus lanatus
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
GRIN (Germplasm Resources Information Network): Citrullus lanatus
iNaturalist: Citrullus lanatus
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Citrullus lanatus
JSTOR Plant Science: Citrullus lanatus
Kew Herbarium catalogue: Citrullus lanatus
Mansfeld World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: Citrullus lanatus
Plants of the World Online: Citrullus lanatus
Tropicos: Citrullus lanatus
Wikipedia: Citrullus lanatus

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2014-22

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2022). Flora of Caprivi: Species information: Citrullus lanatus., retrieved 2 December 2022

Site software last modified: 2 April 2018 10:49pm
Terms of use