The extremely long list of melons includes members of the plant family Cucurbitaceae with edible, fleshy fruit. The word "melon" can refer to either the plant or specifically to the fruit. Many different cultivars have been produced over the years, particularly of muskmelons. Although the melon is a botanical fruit, some varieties may be considered culinary vegetables rather than fruits. Melons are grouped by Genus below:
1. Cucumis (includes most “melon” varieties in North America except Watermelon).
• Muskmelon (C. melo)
A. C. melo reticulatus: True Muskmelons.
1) Cantaloupe (North American) – net-like skin pattern and musky aroma.
2) Galia – small and very juicy with either faint green or rosy pink flesh.
3) Sharlyn – white-fleshed with taste between honeydew and cantaloupes.
B. C. melo inodorus: Winter Melons.
1) Korean melon – yellow with white lines running across the fruit.
2) Canary melon – large, bright-yellow with a very pale-green inner flesh.
3) Casaba – bright yellow with smooth skin. Less flavorful but keeps longer.
4) Hami melon – originally from China. Flesh is sweet and crisp.
5) Honeydew – sweet, juicy, green-colored flesh.
6) Kolkhoznitsa melon – smooth, yellow skin with dense, white flesh.
7) Santa Claus melon – blotchy green skin and white, sweet-tasting flesh.
8) Sugar melon – smooth, white, round fruit.
9) Tiger melon – orange, yellow and black-striped, with a soft pulp.
10) Japanese melons – includes the Sprite melon.
C. C. melo cantalupensis: Melons with skin that is rough and warty, not netted.
1) Cantaloupe (European / Charentais) – small ribs and pale green skin.
2) Persian melon – larger than cantaloupe and darker rind with finer netting.
D. Modern Crossbred Melons. Examples are:
1) Crenshaw – (Casaba × Persian).
2) Crane – (Japanese × North American cantaloupe).
• Horned Melon (C. metuliferus) – grown in California as a food-type.
• Watermelon (C. lanatus)
• Egusi (C. lanatus) – a wild melon with inedible flesh but seeds are food in Africa.
• Non-Specific (M. balsamina L.) – eaten as a culinary vegetable in parts of Africa.
• Bitter Melon (M. charantia) – a culinary vegetable in Asia, India, and Caribbean.
• Winter (Vegetable) Melon (B. hispida) – a popular vegetable in Asia and India.