Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum. & Nakai

Camel Melon

Cat. Semin. Spor. Hort. Bot. Univ. Imp. Tokyo 30: no. 854 (1916) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Naturalised

Annual, trailing herb with hairy stems. Leaf-lamina 2.5–7 cm long, 2.5–8 cm wide, palmately 3–5-lobed, the lobes ovate, sinuate-dentate to pinnately 3–7-lobed, glabrescent to sparsely scabrous above, coarsely scabrous-hairy below, margins flat; petiole 1–6.5 cm long, hairy; tendrils 2–4-branched. Male flowers on pedicels 1–8 cm long; petals 0.5–1.5 cm long, yellow. Female flowers on pedicels 0.5–1.5 cm long; petals 0.5-lcm long, yellow. Fruit 1.5–10 cm diam., globose, green with cream mottling or irregular stripes; pedicel 2–4 cm long; seeds 9–12 mm long, brown, smooth with rough darker markings. Flowers Mar.–May.

*Gold, *LoM, *MuF, *MuM, *MSB, *NIS, *OtP, *RobP, *VRiv, *VVP, *Wim. Naturalized all mainland States. Native of tropical and southern Africa, tropical Asia. Occurs in disturbed sites such as railway sidings, saleyards and on roadsides.

Chomicki & Renner (2015) maintain that the correct name for Camel Melon is Citrullus amara Schrad., but Shaik et al. (2016) suggest this assertion is premature.

Watermelons are a cultivated variant of C. lanatus.

Source: Jobson, P.C. (1996). Cucurbitaceae. In: Walsh, N.G.; Entwisle, T.J. (eds), Flora of Victoria Vol. 3, Dicotyledons Winteraceae to Myrtaceae. Inkata Press, Melbourne.
Updated by: Neville Walsh, 2018-02-16

Chomicki, G. & Renner, S.S. (2015). Watermelon origin solved with molecular phylogenetics including Linnaean material: another example of museomics., New Phytologist 205: 526-532.

Shaik, R.S.; Lepschi, B.J.; Gopurenko, D.; Urwin, N.A.R.; Burrows, G.E. & Weston, L.A. (2016). An integrative morphological and molecular approach to identification of three Australian cucurbitaceous invasive weeds: Citrullus colocynthis, C. lanatus and Cucumis myriocarpus, Australian Systematic Botany 29 (5): 247-264.

Hero image
Distribution map
life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
superorder Rosanae
order Cucurbitales
family Cucurbitaceae
genus Citrullus
Higher taxa


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <>. Find Citrullus lanatus in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Citrullus lanatus in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Lowan Mallee present naturalised
Murray Mallee present naturalised
Wimmera present naturalised
Victorian Volcanic Plain present naturalised
Victorian Riverina present naturalised
Murray Scroll Belt present naturalised
Robinvale Plains present naturalised
Murray Fans present naturalised
Otway Plain present naturalised
Goldfields present naturalised
Northern Inland Slopes present naturalised

State distribution

Distribution map
Western Australia
Northern Territory
South Australia
New South Wales
Australian Capital Territory