Cucumis melo – cucumis is the Latin name for cucumber and melo from an Ancient Greek word relating to apple.
From tropical western Africa and introduced to southern Europe 2000 years ago, melons have been a popular fruit for a very long time. A distinctive group of melons called cantaloupes were developed in a place called Cantallouppi near Rome, where they became very popular with the emperor Tiberius. They were then introduced to Armenia from where they reached Iran, which became a secondary centre of diversity.
Rockmelon needs no introduction to most, but the wide variation that exists is not represented commercially. Their shape and size can resemble anything between a cucumber and a pumpkin, the surface can be netted or warted and their skin colour can range from white through to black.