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Succulent fruit of Citrullus lanatus (formerly C. vulgaris), in the gourd family, native to tropical Africa and cultivated on every continent except Antarctica. The vines spread across the ground with branched tendrils, deeply cut leaves, and light-yellow flowers. Each vine bears 2–15 large, reddish, white, or yellow, sweet, very juicy fruits with flat black seeds. Varieties differ in flesh color, shape, and rind thickness. The rind may be preserved as a pickle.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on watermelon, visit Britannica.com.