The watermelon, or "Citrullus lanatus", is an herbaceous annual plant, trailing or climbing, with a rough texture and hair stems provided with tendrils and deeply-lobed leaves. The flowers are yellow, large and unisexual and the female has the gynoecium with three carpels and the male with five stamens. The plant's fruit is large (usually more than 4 kilos), pepo, meaty and juicy (more than 90% is water), almost spherical, with a smooth texture and no porosities and it has two or more green colour tones.
The flesh is red because of the antioxidant lycopene (also present in tomatoes), the meat has generally a sweet taste (more rarely yellow and bitter) and it is very refreshing and rich in water and salts. It is usually recommended for weight loss diets because of the few calories that contains. The numerous seeds can grow to 1 cm in length, they are black, brown or white, rich in vitamin E and they have been used in folk medicine and also consumed in toasts as food.
The fruit contains about 6% of sugars and 91% of water by weight. It is a good source of vitamin C, like many other fruits. Watermelon rinds, usually light and green or white, are also edible and are sometimes eaten as a vegetable.
Watermelon is slightly diuretic and contains carotenoids in large quantities. The watermelon with red pulp is a significant source of lycopene, in fact, it is provided 4,532 mg per 100 grams of watermelon.
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