What Makes Watermelon a Vegetable?
The watermelon is often seen as a fruit, but botanically it’s actually a vegetable. Knowing the distinct classification not only serves to answer the question “Is a watermelon a fruit or vegetable?” but it also can be useful in understanding the fruit-to-vegetable transition.
Watermelon is a member of the cucurbitaceae family, plants that are botanically classified as vegetables. Other fruits from this family include cantaloupe, cucumbers, squash, and pumpkin. These cucurbits are known as pepo, which refers to its hard outer rind and juicy interior.
This particular species, Citrullus lanatus, is now cultivated, meaning it originates from an earlier wild species that has been manipulated by humans in some way. Watermelons are climbing vines that can spread out 10 to 15 feet making it both an ornamental and functional plant.
Watermelon is an excellent source of:
- Vitamin A to support immune health and cell growth.
- Vitamin C to help aid antioxidant activity and synthesize collagen.
- Potassium to help regulatory water balance and nerve impulses.
- Lycopene to support heart and prostate health.
Since watermelon is part of the cucurbitaceae family and is a cultivated species, it is classified as a vegetable. Not only is it technically categorized as a vegetable, it is also an excellent source of useful nutrients that can be beneficial to our overall well-being.