Melon, (Cucumis melo), trailing vine in the gourd family (Cucurbitaceae), grown for its often musky-scented edible fruit. The melon plant is native to central Asia, and its many cultivated varieties are widely grown in warm regions around the world. Most commercially important melons are sweet and eaten fresh, though some varieties can be made into preserves or pickled.
Melons are frost-tender annuals with soft hairy trailing stems and clasping tendrils. They bear large round to lobed leaves and yellow unisexual flowers about 2.5 cm (1 inch) across. Botanically, the fruits are a type of berry known as a pepo, and they vary greatly in size, shape, surface texture, and flesh colour and flavour, depending on the variety. They generally weigh 1–4 kg (2–9 pounds). Cantaloupes and netted melons are ripe when they give off a sweet fruity odour, at which time they “slip,” or break, readily at the union of fruit and stalk.