May 14, 2019
By most measures, watermelon remains a valuable fruit crop throughout the world and provides a rich source of health-promoting compounds.
The crop is grown commercially in 44 states across the nation, with the highest production in Georgia, Florida, Texas, California and Arizona. Twenty-three percent of the U.S. crop is produced in Florida with a value of $136 million.
Watermelon has a long history in the United States. A large number of watermelon cultivars have been developed since the mid-19th century.
A USDA/Agricultural Research Service team has recently completed a landmark project that sequenced the fruit’s genome. This project identified genes that control disease resistance and fruit qualities, giving researchers and growers a valuable tool for future production.
(Photo courtesy of USDA/ARS)