While exploring a new territory, the melon adapted to its conditions. This is how local varieties arose. Since the age of the melon is solid, and it is cultivated everywhere except Antarctica, there are a huge number of melon varieties: in our country alone, almost 130 varieties and hybrids of melons have been zoned, of which more than 45 are recommended for all climatic zones. In addition to them, they unofficially migrate to summer cottages, household plots, balconies of melons from neighboring countries and even other continents.
Not surprisingly, it is difficult to understand the taxonomy of the melon. Moreover, it is still being refined and corrected. Of course, you can stick to the usual assortment of melons, trust advertisements or the opinion of amateur melon growers on social networks. However, in order to make fewer mistakes when choosing a variety and agricultural technology, it is worth using the melon classification, at least a simplified one.
According to the classification of V.I. Pyzhenkova, all the variety of melons (Cucumis melo L.) is represented by five subspecies, which can be conditionally divided into two groups:
Exotic subspecies, as a rule, produce fruits of the original shape, but with a large seed nest, slightly sweet, sometimes with bitterness. These melons are resistant to diseases, but they are very hygrophilous and thermophilic (in the middle lane and northern regions it can be grown only in greenhouses). If these melons are used, it is mainly for medicinal purposes, as vegetables and for breeding cultivated melons in order to increase resistance to infections.
Chinese melon (Cucumis melo subsp. chinensis)
Melon with branching, coarsely drooping stems up to 1.5 m long and split leaves with a "waffle" bubble surface, represented by the following varieties:
- small-fruited(var. chinensis): flowers are hermaphroditic and male, fruits are small, globular, yellow or white. The flesh is thin, white or green, and sweet. This variety most likely includes Vietnamese melons and Sibarita Dream.
- silvery, konomon, armenian cucumber(var. conomon): flowers are dioecious, fruits 50 cm long, cucumber-shaped, faceted, cylindrical. The bark is gray, yellow, brown. The pulp is thin, green, with a cucumber taste and strong aroma, potato-like, slightly sweet. Grows on sandy soil, very heat demanding. In China, sweet melon of this variety (tien-gua) and vegetable (tsai-gua), or melon cucumber, are grown, which are crossed with each other. They are eaten fresh along with the peel, and also salted, pickled, boiled and fried.
- bisexual(var. monoclines): leaves are large, flowers are only bisexual. Fruits are spherical, with a turban. The bark is smooth, slightly segmented, white, without mesh. The pulp is white, thin, crispy, unsweetened.
Cucumber melon (Cucumis melo subsp. flexuosus)
A distinctive feature of this melon is dioecious flowers, worm-like ovaries and elongated, wrinkled fruits, used in the same way as cucumber greens, includes varieties of all kinds of cucumbers:
- serpentine, or container(var. flexuosus): the flowers are dioecious, the bark of mature fruits is white or green, without a net, the pulp is of medium thickness, loose, white, unsweetened.
- melon cucumber, ajur(var. adzhur): cultivated in Syria, Palestine and North Africa. Typical are club-shaped, sickle-shaped, with thickening at the ends, fruits up to 80 cm long. The bark is wrinkled, whitish or green-yellow, the stalk does not detach (it is necessary to cut off with it, otherwise the fruit will start to rot). The pulp is loose, fibrous, juicy, unsweetened.
Wild melon (Cucumis melo subsp. agrestis)
It has small, split leaves and fruits the size of a plum or orange, with a thin, slightly sweet, bitter-sour pulp:
- weed-field(var. agrestis): the stem is rough, thick, strongly branching, the flowers are large. Fruits are gray-green, odorless, with a short stalk.
- wild growing(var. figari): leaves and flowers are small, stem is thin, ovary with short pubescence, fruits on long curved stalks, 3-4 cm long, without aroma.
- small-fruited, fragrant, dudaim(var. dudaim): fruits with a strong aroma, small, with bright white, yellow, purple-brown bark and firm, yellow or orange flesh.
Indian melon (Cucumis melo subsp. indica)
Outwardly, it is very similar to the cultivated melon: the stems are of medium length, the leaves are rounded, on long petioles. However, it grows well in heat and drought:
- field(var. indica): fruits are small, mostly spherical, without mesh. The bark is greenish-white, cream or purple, sometimes streaked. The pulp is of medium thickness, white, juicy, slightly sweet. Demanding on soil and air moisture.
- vegetable, momordica or hindi(var. momordiсa): fruits are cylindrical, up to 50 cm long, smooth, without a mesh, with warts, cracking when ripe. The pulp is greenish-white, orange, slightly juicy, potato, sour or tasteless. It is consumed raw and cooked.
Cultural melon(Cucumis melo subsp. melo)
The variety of cultivated melons reflects the influence of the climate and tastes of the local population on melon breeding.
The largest plants with long, rough stems, large whole leaves in melons Central Asian(convar. rigidus). These include local, ancient Central Asian and Asia Minor varieties, including Turkmen, Uzbek, Tajik. That is why Central Asian melon varieties show their potential only within their range. When transferred to the European part of Russia, the growing season of plants increases, the fruits do not have time to fill even when grown through seedlings. According to the ripening period and the length of the growing season, they are distinguished:
- Osenna-winter, radishes(var. redigi) and zard(var. zard) ripen in 130-140 days from the moment of mass shoots. Very heat-resistant: they can withstand air temperatures up to 43o, soils - up to 60oC. The fruits are large, elongated, do not come off the stalk. The bark is dense, dark green, brownish, smooth or slightly wrinkled with a sparse coarse mesh. The pulp is thick, white, sweet, rich in pectins, ripens during storage (it must be removed in technical ripeness) for 4-7 months. Of the classic varieties, the following are still cultivated: Koy-bash, Umyr-vaki, Beshek, Karry-kyz Kalaysan, Kok-gulyabi, Green gulyabi, Orange gulyabi, Sary-gulyabi, Alla-hamma, Kara-puchak, Kara-kant, Torlama ... These melons are stored at 0-3oC and 80-90% relative humidity. Higher values of these parameters lead to fruit spoilage.
- summer, America(var. ameri) - the most sugary of all melons. Mid-season varieties with medium-sized fruits, yellow, creamy, greenish bark - smooth or slightly segmented. The flesh of the melon is white or light orange, crispy, very sweet, juicy, with a taste of pineapple, vanilla, pear. They tolerate transportation well and can be stored for up to 3 months. The varieties are represented by the following types: Ak-Kaun, Ameri, Shakar-palak, Kokcha, Arbakesha, Ich-kzyl, Kzyl-uruk, Bargi, Vakharman.
- early, bukhara(var. bucharica) - mid-early varieties of Central Asian melons. Fruits are large, oval, slightly segmented, yellow, with a weak radial pattern, lie poorly and tolerate transportation. Varieties: Chogare (Bukharka), Bos-valdy, Assate, Tashlaki.
- early ripeners, khandalyak(var. chabdalak) ripen 60 days after germination. Strongly affected by diseases. Fruits weighing up to 2 kg, spherical or flattened, segmented, patterned, sparse mesh, thin, soft, green or yellow bark. The pulp is thick, loose, white, juicy, slightly sweet, the seed nest is small. They contain few pectin substances, therefore they are poorly stored and transported. Varieties: Khandalyak Kokcha, Khandalyak Orange, Khandalyak Yellow, Zami, Kok-Cola Posh, Kolagurk.
For melons Western European (convar. melo) are characterized by plants of medium vigor, with thin, branching stems and medium-sized five-lobed leaves:
- western european, cantaloupe(var. cantalupa) - mid-season varieties of Western Europe. Fruits are globular, medium in size, segmented, with a strong aroma and very firm, moderately sweet orange flesh, well transported but not shelf stable. The bark is yellow or orange, without mesh, with warts.Represented by varieties: Charantais, Prescot, Cavaillon, Galia.
- american cantaloupe, net(var. melo and var. reticulatus) - fruits of medium size, spherical or oval, smooth, with a dense coarse net of dirty yellow or brown color, without a pattern. The pulp is orange, thick, fibrous, melting, juicy, sweet, often with a musky aroma. The seed nest is small. Variety types: Rokiford, Hales best, Edisto ('Eden's Gem' Muskmelon), Jacumba (Rio-gold, Planters Jumbo, Jacumba).
Meloneastern european, adana (convar. europeus, convar. adana (Pang.) Greb.) Combines the most common domestic varieties. The plant is medium-growing, with thin shoots and delicate lobed leaves. Fruits are small, mostly spherical, with a strong aroma. The bark is yellow or creamy, with a dull pattern. The flesh is white or pale orange, potato, crispy. Represented by varieties:
- winter (var. hiemalis Filov) - late-ripening, transportable, stagnant varieties. Fruits are small, mostly spherical, with a strong aroma. The bark is hard, firm, smooth, yellow-green or olive, often covered with a net. The pulp is white or light orange, potato, crispy, sweet. Varieties: Bykovskaya (Bykovskaya 735, Mechta, Tavria), Caucasian (Gavakan, Hrazdani). Store at a temperature of 0-30C and a relative humidity of 80-90%. Higher values of these parameters lead to fruit spoilage.
- summer (var. aestivalis Filov) are mid-ripening, non-maturing and poorly transportable varieties. The fruits are spherical and oval. Bark with a spotted striped pattern, reticulate. The pulp is greenish, white, light orange, firm, melting. The flowers are often bisexual. Variety types: Kolkhoznaya, Dessertnaya, Kerchenskaya, Kubanka (Kubanka 93, Novinka Don, Kazachka 244).
- early ripening (var. europeus, var. praecox) - early ripening, not shelf-stable, poorly transported varieties. Female flowers are dioecious. Fruits are small, oval or spherical, yellow with a sparse mesh. The pulp is white, light orange, green, potato, dry, sweet, aromatic. The seed nest is large. Varieties: Altai, Lemon yellow, Early, Thirty days, Timiryazevskaya Early.
Meloneastern, kassaba (convar. orientalis) - melons of Asia Minor. Graceful plants with small kidney-shaped leaves:
- Toassabawinter has two forms (var. orientalis and var. inodorus). These are late-ripening varieties grown for ripening in storage. Fruits are large to medium in size, varied in shape, wrinkled, light or dark green. The pulp is thick, dense, herbaceous astringent taste in technical ripeness, when ripe it becomes sweet, juicy, suitable for fruit salads. Varieties: Assan Bay, Canari, Valencia, Temporano Rohet, Honey Dew, Golden Beauty. They are stored at a temperature of 0-3 ° C and a relative humidity of 80-90%. Higher values of these parameters lead to fruit spoilage.
- summer ticket office, Zhukovsky(var. zhukowskii) - mid-season varieties with spherical, nipple-shaped processes, fruits. The skin is flexible, wrinkled, or smooth, without a mesh, yellow-green in color. The pulp is white, thick, melting, sweet. Varieties: Kassaba Zhukovsky, Kassaba Spotted, Honey Dew.
Modern melons are obtained not only from the traditional crossing of geographically distant varieties and varieties, but also as a result of hybridization. Therefore, the assignment of hybrids to a particular variety is conditional. For example, American melon hybrids include genes from American cantaloupes and Asia Minor cassabs.
Melons: varieties and hybrids
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