The green links below add additional plants to the comparison table. Blue links lead to other Web sites.
enable glossary links

hedgehog gourd, teasel gourd

cantaloupe, honeydew, muskmelon

Habit Plants: roots thin, without thick, woody rootstock. Plants monoecious or andromonoecious, roots thin or with thick, woody rootstock.

petiole weakly hispidulous to hispid;

blade ovate to broadly ovate, unlobed to 3-lobate, 3–7.5(–12.5) × 2–7(–12) cm, length 1.1–1.5 times width, base cordate, lobes ovate to elliptic, margins serrate or entire.

petiole hispid to hispidulous or retrorsely strigose;

blade broadly ovate, unlobed or palmately 3–5-lobed, 2–14(–26) × 2–15(–26) cm, length 0.8–1.3 times width, base cordate, lobes elliptic or oblong to ovate, margins entire or weakly serrate.


pedicels of pistillate flowers and fruits cylindric; staminate flowers 1 or 2–7, usually in racemoid fascicles, rarely racemes; pistillate flowers: calyx lobes 5–6(–11) mm, petals 6–15 mm, corolla tube 1–1.5 mm, lobes glabrous inside.

pedicels of pistillate flowers and fruits cylindric; staminate flowers 2–7(–18) in fascicles or panicles, corolla tube 0.8–2 mm; pistillate flowers: calyx lobes 1.5–3(–8) mm, petals 3.5–9(–20) mm, corolla tube 1–1.6(–3) mm, lobes puberulent or glabrous inside.


proximally hispidulous, distally glabrous.

sparsely hispid.


pale yellow, monocolor, ellipsoid to ellipsoid-cylindric or globose, 3.5–7 × 2.5–4 cm, densely echinate at maturity, spinules narrowly cylindric, mostly obscuring fruit surface, flesh light yellow.

tan, yellowish, lemon yellow, light yellowish green, dark green, light orange, monocolor or orange or brown striped, ellipsoid to subglobose [globose, cylindric, ovoid, or obovoid], 2–12(–100) × 2.5–20+ cm, surface netted, warty, scaly, ridged, or smooth, flesh orange to yellowish, green, or whitish.


= 24.

= 24.

Cucumis dipsaceus

Cucumis melo

Phenology Flowering Jul–Sep.
Habitat Open shrublands, thicket edges, riparian corridors, stream banks, sandy and loamy soil
Elevation 50–100 m (200–300 ft)
from FNA
TX; Africa [Introduced in North America; introduced also in Mexico, Pacific Islands (Galapagos Islands, Hawaii), Australia]
[BONAP county map]
from FNA
AL; AR; AZ; CA; CT; FL; GA; IL; KY; LA; MA; MI; MO; MS; NC; NH; NM; NV; NY; OH; OK; PA; RI; SC; TN; TX; UT; VA; WV; ON; Asia (India) [Introduced also nearly worldwide]
[WildflowerSearch map]
[BONAP county map]

Cucumis dipsaceus is documented as adventive in Texas by collections from Hidalgo and Webb counties. It is sometimes cultivated as an ornamental because of its distinctive fruits.

(Discussion copyrighted by Flora of North America; reprinted with permission.)

Subspecies 2 (2 in the flora).

Only two formal infraspecific taxa within Cucumis melo were recognized by J. H. Kirkbride (1993; subsp. melo and subsp. agrestis), who suggested that other variants should be treated with horticultural names, and classification of melons into two subspecies has been generally supported by molecular phylogenies (A. Stepansky et al. 1999; D. S. Decker et al. 2002).

Wide extremes of variation and horticultural selections exist within Cucumis melo, especially as to fruit characters (for example, size, shape, surface features, color, texture, taste, composition). Cucumis melo includes feral, wild, and cultivated forms, including dessert melons as well as non-sweet forms that are consumed raw, pickled, or cooked. This has led to a proliferation of names for the variants and various systems of infraspecific classification have been proposed.

A widely used system proposed by C. V. Naudin (1859), dividing Cucumis melo into a single wild variety (var. agrestis) and six cultivated ones (vars. cantalupensis, conomon, dudaim, flexuosus, inodorus, and momordica), has been modified and simplified (for example, H. M. Munger and R. W. Robinson 1991) as well as extended into a detailed hierarchical system (I. Grebenscikov 1953; see comments by K. Hammer et al. 1986). An overview of infraspecific nomenclature in C. melo was provided by M. Pitrat et al. (2000). This was largely repeated, but adapted to the International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants, by Y. Burger et al. (2010), who proposed five cultivar groups in subsp. agrestis and 11 cultivar groups in subsp. melo; molecular data have not supported their apportionment of the groups among the two subspecies.

Most collections of Cucumis melo from the flora area have not been identified to infraspecific rank and for a more accurate assessment of the distribution of subsp. melo versus subsp. agrestis, all should be reexamined. Presumably, cultivars of each subspecies might be encountered outside of cultivation. As an overview of the diversity of forms and guide to principal names used for melons, a relatively simple taxonomic system is presented here, summarizing the main cultivar groups in each subspecies.

(Discussion copyrighted by Flora of North America; reprinted with permission.)

1. Hypanthia pilose to lanate, hairs spreading; stems glabrous or sparsely villous; pepos 10–20+ cm diam.
subsp. melo
1. Hypanthia retrorsely or antrorsely sericeous, hairs appressed; stems retrorsely hispid; pepos 2.5–5 cm diam.
subsp. agrestis
Source FNA vol. 6, p. 38. FNA vol. 6, p. 35.
Parent taxa Cucurbitaceae > Cucumis Cucurbitaceae > Cucumis
Sibling taxa
C. anguria, C. melo, C. metuliferus, C. myriocarpus, C. sativus
C. anguria, C. dipsaceus, C. metuliferus, C. myriocarpus, C. sativus
Subordinate taxa
C. melo subsp. agrestis, C. melo subsp. melo
Name authority Ehrenberg: in E. Spach, Hist. Nat. Vég. 6: 211. (1838) Linnaeus: Sp. Pl. 2: 1011. (1753)
Web links