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Citrullus lanatus


Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum. & Nakai

Family Name: Cucurbitaceae
Common Name: Watermelon, Tembikai, Semangka, 西瓜


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Climber
Lifespan (in Singapore) Annual
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic


Native Distribution South Africa
Native Habitat Terrestrial
Local Conservation Status Non-native (Horticultural / Cultivated Only)

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form An annual, monoecious vine. It has a twining growth habit and can grow up from 1.5 to 5m in length.  
Roots The root system is extensive and shallow. 
Foliage The deeply lobed leaves are alternately arranged along the stem and are oblong-ovate in shape with a cordate leaf base. 
Stems The herbaceous stem is angular, grooved and is covered with long, white hairs. 
Flowers The pale yellow flowers are solitary and are borne in the leaf axils. The male flowers have 3 stamens while the female flowers have an inferior ovary and a 3-lobed stigma. Both flowers have a 5-lobed calyx and a 5-parted corolla. 
Fruit The fruit is a pepo, its shape varies from globular to oblong to elliptical. The colour of the fruit also varies from stripes to mottled or uniform and is hairy or glabrous to the touch. The flesh of the fruit varies from red to yellow. 
Cultivation It is best grown in a warm, sunny and dry climate for rapid growth and fruiting. Excessive humidity and rainfall induces excessive vegetative growth and fruit rot. It is best grown in slightly acidic, fertile and well-drained soil with a high amount of organic matter mixed in. Seeds may take 5 to 12 days to germinate. Depending on the varieties, the plant may take 85 to 105 days to mature. Grow the plant in a sunny location with a support or trellis and install a hammock-like structure to hold the fruit as it develops.
Ethnobotanical Uses Edible Plant Parts : Edible Fruits, Edible Seeds
Food (Fruit or Vegetable)

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Form
Landscape Uses Parks & Gardens, Small Gardens
Thematic Landscaping Economic Garden

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Rootzone Tolerance Well-Drained Soils, Fertile Loamy Soils, Acidic (low pH) Soils
Propagation Method Seed


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Alternate
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage
Foliar Base Cordate

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality Unisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) Yellow / Golden
Flower Grouping Solitary
Flower Location Axillary

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) Green, Green - Light Green
Mature Fruit Texture(s) Smooth
Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type
Mature Seed Colour(s) Black
Seed Quantity Per Fruit Numerous (>20)

Image Repository



Master ID 31704
Species ID 6103
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 20 August 2021.