The watermelon (Cucurbita citrullus) is a herbaceous plant of the Cucurbitacee family. It is thought to be of African origin, although there is also a theory that it originated in southern Italy, having arrived in pre-Roman times. In Italian it is called cocomero or anguria.
The fruit is rounded, either spherical or oval in shape, with sweet red flesh, although yellow-fleshed varieties also exist.
The varieties currently commercialised fall into four groups: small and round (3-5 kg), large and round (approx 10 kg), small oval and large oval.
The tradition of travelling watermelon stalls selling slices of this fruit is still very much alive today, and is documented since ancient times.
There is also evidence that until the 17th century it was not only the sugary flesh of the fruit that was consumed, but also the seeds, which were eaten candied.