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Watermelon is a summer all-star present at almost every picnic, cookout and outdoor gathering. It's tasty, refreshing and so common you rarely think twice about eating it. Well, it's about time you got better acquainted with this beloved summer fruit. Watermelon has a fascinating history that deserves to be told. Here are some fun facts we unearthed with the help of the National Watermelon Promotion Board:
1. Watermelon is an ancient fruit. The earliest recorded harvest dates back to 5,000 B.C. in Egypt.
2. Historians believe watermelon originated in the Kalahari Desert in Africa.
3. In Ancient Egypt, watermelons were placed inside the tombs of kings and queens to nourish them in the afterlife.
4. Watermelons are the botanical cousins of cucumber, squash and pumpkins.
5. Are you familiar with Citrullus Lanatus? That’s the official name for watermelons.
6. Cracked watermelons, aka melons with a “hollow heart,” are sweeter due to the concentration of sugars on the cracks.
7. There are anywhere from 200 to 300 varieties of watermelon grown in the United States and Mexico.
8. The world’s heaviest watermelon weighed 268.8 pounds (121.93 kg), according to the Guinness World Records. It was grown by Lloyd Bright of Arkadelphia, Arkansas in 2005.
9. Watermelons have more lycopene (an antioxidant) than any other fruit or vegetable.
10. Contrary to popular belief, seedless watermelons are not genetically modified. They are a sterile hybrid produced by crossing male pollen with a female watermelon flower.