Any of the seven groups of Cucumis melo, a trailing vine grown for its edible, sweet, musky-scented fruit. Members of the horticulturally diverse gourd family, melons are frost-tender annuals native to central Asia but widely grown in many cultivated varieties in warm regions worldwide. They have soft, hairy, trailing stems, large round to lobed leaves, yellow flowers, and large flat seeds. The fruits of the numerous cultivated varieties differ greatly in size, shape, surface texture, flesh colour, flavour, and weight. Examples include cantaloupe, honeydew, and casaba. Plants resembling true melons include the watermelon, the Chinese watermelon, the melon tree (see papaya), and the melon shrub, or pear melon (Solanum muricatum).
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