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Cucumis melo var. cantalupensis

Image of Cantaloupe

Family: Cucurbitaceae
Genus: Cucumis

Cucumis melo var. cantalupensis, the fruit widely known as "cantaloupe" throughout the U.S. is actually muskmelon. Cantaloupes are members of the cucurbit family of plants (Cucurbitaceae) that also includes cucumbers, pumpkins, squashes, gourds, and a long list of melons. Melons in this same plant family with cantaloupe include Watermelon and honeydew melon, along with crenshaw, casaba, Persian, and canary melon.

Cantaloupe contains a wide variety of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients, including the carotenoids alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lutein, beta-cryptoxanthin and zeaxanthin; the flavonoid luteolin; the organic acids ferulic and caffeic acid; and two cucurbitacins—cucurbitacin B and cucurbitacin E. Cantaloupe is an excellent source of vitamin A (in the form of carotenoids) and vitamin C. It is also a very good source of potassium and a good source of dietary fiber, vitamin B1, vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B6, folate, magnesium, and vitamin K.