Muskmelon (Cucumis melo) is a species of melon that has been developed into many cultivated varieties. These include smooth skinned varieties such as honeydew, crenshaw and casaba, and different netted cultivars (cantaloupe, Persian melon and Santa Claus or Christmas melon).
The large number of cultivars in this species approaches that found in wild cabbage, though morphological variation is not as extensive. It is an accessory fruit of a type that botanists call an epigynous berry. Muskmelon is native to northwestern India, where it spread to China and Europe via the Persian Empire. The varied cultivars produced have been divided into multiple cultivar groups.
Cantaloupe melons are a good source of potassium, Vitamin A, and folate . Cantaloupes in general are a useful laxative.
In addition to consumption of the fresh fruit, melons are sometimes dried and stored as melon leather. Other varieties are cooked as vegetables or grown for their seeds, which are processed to produce melon oil. Still other varieties are grown only for their pleasant fragrance.
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