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A triumphant senator Don Barrington, who sponsored the bill said "watermelon comes from the cucumber and gourd families, which are classified as vegetables," and also said after the vote: "The controversy on whether watermelon is a fruit or vegetable has been officially decided by the Oklahoma legislature."
Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus var. lanatus, family Cucurbitaceae) is a vine-like (scrambler and trailer) flowering plant originally from southern Africa. Its fruit, which is also called watermelon, is a special kind referred to by botanists as a pepo, a berry which has a thick rind (exocarp) and fleshy center (mesocarp and endocarp). Pepos are derived from an inferior ovary, and are characteristic of the Cucurbitaceae. The watermelon fruit, loosely considered a type of melon - although not in the genus Cucumis - has a smooth exterior rind (usually green with dark green stripes or yellow spots) and a juicy, sweet interior flesh (usually deep red to pink, but sometimes orange, yellow, or white).
Citrullus lanatus...what does that even mean?
The scientific name of the watermelon derived from both Greek and Latin roots. The Citrullus part comes from a Greek word "citrus"which is a reference to the fruit. The lanatus part is Latin, and has the meaning of being wooly, referring to the small hairs on the stems and leaves of the plant.
The law designating watermelon as the official Oklahoma state vegetable is found in the Oklahoma Statutes, Title 25, Section 25-98.15.
Title 25. Definitions and General Provisions
§25-98.15. Official state vegetable.
The watermelon is hereby designated and adopted as the official vegetable of the State of Oklahoma.
Added by Laws 2007, c. 45, § 1, eff. Nov. 1, 2007.
Taxonomic Hierarchy: Watermelon
Kingdom: Plantae - Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta - Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta - Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida - Dicotyledons
Family: Cucurbitaceae - Cucumber family
Genus: Citrullus Schrad. - watermelon
Species: Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum. & Nakai - watermelon Variety: Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum. & Nakai var. lanatus - watermelon