The watermelon, Citrullus lanatus (Cucurbitaceae), is an important fruit vegetable. In order to obtain an improved understanding of watermelon history in Mediterranean Europe, Paris et al. collect, examine and compare medieval drawings of watermelons from around 1300ad onwards. Drawings in herbal-type manuscripts depict watermelon foliage realistically, and the fruits are small, round and striped. Drawings in agriculture-based manuscripts show considerable variation in size, shape and coloration of fruits. Red-flesh and white-flesh watermelons are illustrated, corresponding to the typical sweet dessert watermelons common today and the insipid citron watermelons, respectively. Evidently, citron watermelons were more common in Mediterranean Europe in the past than they are presently.
Medieval iconography of watermelons
Looking at medieval drawings, Paris et al. discover that citron watermelons were more common in Mediterranean Europe in the past than they are presently.