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Cucurbit Genetics Cooperative Report 22:21-23 (article 9) 1999

Tibish, a Melon Type from Sudan

El Tahir I. Mohamed1 and M. Pitrat2

1Agricultural Research Corporation, P.O. Box 126, Wad Medani, Sudan

2INRA, Station de Genetique dt d'Amelioration des Fruits et Legumes, B.P. 94, 84143 Montfavet cedex, France

Melon (Cucumis melo L.) is a polymorphic species that has been classified into several intra-specific groups. Naudin (1859) laid the foundation for such intra-specific grouping. His attempt for grouping melon types has remained valid up to the present time, with some amendments made later (4, 7, 8). Grebenschikov (1953) proposed another system for sub-classifying melons. He divided melons into two specific species: cucumis melo and C. agrestis. He subdivided them further into different sub-taxa, using the names species and sub-species for C. agrestis and specioid and sub-specioid for C. melo, which he subdivided into several convarieties. Hammer et al. (1986) followed almost the same system of Grebenschikov with some amendments, mainly by grouping C. agrestis and C. melo into one species and considering two sub-species (agrestis and melo). Both Naudin's and Grebenschikov's classifications have similarities and differences when compared together (Table 1). For instance the group flexuosus is very typical and is found in all classifications. All these classifications are based mai8nly on fruit characters and uses, and also to some other plant characters.

In Sudan five types of melons are known. They are different in their morphological features as well as the ways in which they are used, and hence they belong to different intra-specific groups of melon. Each of these types has a specific local name. They include the following:

  1. Adjour, which is the snake cucumber (C. melo flexuosus). Its immature fruits are used raw in salad, and for pickling, but sometimes are cooked.
  2. Shamam, which is the sweet melon (C, melo cantalupensis). Its full ripe sweet fruits are used in dessert.
  3. Tibish, the immature fruits of this type are also eaten raw in salad, which is more popular with hot pepper and lime juice.
  4. Humaid, this is a typical wild melon growing in Sudan. It belongs to the group C. melo agrestis.

The tibish type, which is a probable first step in the domestication of melon (6), seems to be different from the other groups of this species. From the observations made when collecting and characterizing several local collections of tibish in sudan, this type did not fit in either of the known intraspecific groups proposed by different authors. It has been classified as a cultivated type of C. melo agrestis, but the plant characters, with its medium to large dark green foliage, and medium sized fruits, are different from those characters of melons from the agrestis group as described elsewhere.

Tibish plants usually have dark green foliage of almost entire leaves which are more or less elongate. The leaf size is usually medium to large, with midrib length of the leaf lamina 8 cm or greater. The sex type of tibish plants is usually andromonoecious. Fruits normally are oval or oblate in shape, without ribs and with a smooth surface with dark green stripes, which appear on a background of green or light green color when fruits are immature. In some cases markings are lacking, as in the fruits of the seinat type, which could be considered as a sub-type of tibish. Upon full maturity and ripeness the predominant fruit skin color becomes yellowish-green to yellow with dark green stripes. Fruit size ranges between small and medium,, with a fruit length commonly between 8-15 cm, and width between 4-9 cm, but exceptional sizes can be found with fruit length more than 20 cm and width more than 10 cm. Flesh is usually whitish, more or less firm, and not sweet. External and internal aroma are lacking. to our knowledge tibish and seinat types of melons are grown only in sudan and not in neighboring countries.

Different types of melons are used as vegetables, i.e., fruits harvested before maturity and eaten raw, pickled or cooked, these types mainly include:

  • flexuosus which was first described as Cucumis flexuosus L. It is grown in the Northern half of Africa, Western and Central Asia until India.
  • adzhur (Pang.) Grebenschikov, which was first described as cucumis chate Hasselq. fruits of this type are less elongated than flexuosus fruits. It is grown in the Mediterranean countries, as in Italy (where it is known as carosello) and Turkey.
  • conomon which is grown in Eastern Asia. According to the proposal of Jeffrey (1980), Hammer et al. (1986) classified it within C. melo agrestis because of the hairiness character of the ovary. Nevertheless it is a cultivated type and not a wild agrestis one.
  • momordica, a type quite specific to India.

Tibish is another type of vegetable melon which is different from all previously described intra-specific groups. Being so, we propose that tibish could be another intra-specific group of melon.

Table 1. Intra-specific classification of melon after Naudin (1859) and Grebenschikov (1953) and various modifications.

Naudin (1859)
Whitaker & Davis (1962)
Munger & Robinson (1991)
Robinson & Decker-Walters (1997)
Grebenschikov (1953)
Hammer et al. (1986)
Species and tribe
Species and variety
Species and group
Species and group
Species and sub-species
Specioid and sub-specioid
Covariety
Species and sub-species
Covariety
Cucumis melo
Cucumis melo
Cucmis melo
Cucumis melo
Cucumis agrestis
Cucumis melo
Cucumis melo
agrestis
agrestis
agrestis
agrestis figari
agrestis
conomon
cantalupensis reticulatus saccharinus
cantapulensis reticulatus
cantalupensis
cantalupensis
melo
cantalupa
melo
melo
inodorus
inodorus
inodorus
inodorus
zard
zard
caasaba
casaba
ambiguus
adana
adana
chandalak
chandalak
ameri
ameri
flexuosus
flexuosus
flexuosus
flexuosus
flexuosus
flexuosus
flexuosus
adzhur
adzhur
acidulsus
conomon
conomon
conomon
conomon
conomon
chinensis
dudaim
dudaim
dudaim
dudaim
dudaim
dudaim
chito
chito
chito
erythraesus
momordica
momordica

Literature Cited

  1. Grebenschikov, I. 1953. Die Entwicklung der Melonensystematik. Kulturpflanze. 1:121-138.
  2. Hammer, K., P. Hanelt and P. Perrino. 1986. Carosello and the taxonomy of Cucumis melo L. especially of its vegetable races. Kulturpflanze. 34:249-259.
  3. Jeffrey, C. 1980. A review of the Cucurbitaceae. Bot. J. Linn. Soc. 81:2330247.
  4. Munger, H.M. and R.W. robinson. 1991. Nomenclature of Cucumis melo L. Cucurbit Genetics Coop. report 14:43-44.
  5. Naudin, C. 1859. Essais d'une monographie des especes et varietes du genre Cucumis. Ann. Sci. Nat. 11:5-87.
  6. Pitrat, M., M. Chauvet and C. Foury. 1997. Diversity, history and production of cultivated Cucurbits. First ISHS Symposium on cucurbits, 20-23/05/1997, Adana (Turkey).
  7. Robinson, R.W. and D.S. Decker-Walters. 1997. Cucurbits, CAB International, Oxon (U.K.), New York (U.S.A.)
  8. Whitaker, T.W. and G.N. Davis. 1962. Cucurbits: Botany, Cultivation and Utilization. Interscience Publishers, New York.
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Page citation: Wehner, T.C., Cucurbit Genetics Cooperative;
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