Oklahoma State Vegetable


Watermelon: Oklahoma State Vegetable

(Genus Citrullus Schrad. - watermelon)

Adopted 2007

Oklahoma designated watermelon as the official state vegetable in 2007. Everywhere else it is considered a fruit, but in Oklahoma the watermelon has been officially declared a vegetable. And not just any vegetable, Oklahoma's house of representatives voted to award the watermelon the honour of official state vegetable. The official state fruit is the strawberry.

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."

Oklahoma State Vegetable: Watermelon

Watermelon: Oklahoma State Vegetable

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. 

Oklahoma Law

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
Section 25.98.15
§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
    Subclass: Dilleniidae
Order: Violales
Family: Cucurbitaceae - Cucumber family
Genus: Citrullus Schrad. - watermelon
Species: Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum. & Nakai - watermelon Variety: Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum. & Nakai var. lanatus - watermelon

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