Korean melon

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Korean melon
Korean melon-Chamoe-01.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Cucurbitales
Family: Cucurbitaceae
Genus: Cucumis
Species: C. melo
Variety: C. m. var. makuwa
Trinomial name
Cucumis melo L. ssp. agrestis var. makuwa
Makino (1928)
  • Cucumis melo L. ssp. conomon var. makuwa[1] Kitamura (1950)

The Korean melon[2] (Cucumis melo L. var. makuwa) or chamoe (참외), following its Korean name, is a type of melon primarily grown in Korea.[3] The fruit is typically about half-foot(15 cm) long and weighs slightly over 1 pound (0.45 kg).[3][4] It has smooth, oblong with white stripes that run the length of the fruit.[3] It has white flesh that is juicy and sweet, and the seed cavity is filled with small white seeds.[3] Although most korean melons marketed is yellow in color, there are variant cultivars of green or ivory colors. The flavor has been described as a cross between a honeydew melon and a cucumber.[3] The fruits are usually eaten fresh; with its thin rind and small seeds, the melon can be eaten whole.[3][4] The melon is eaten as pickled with spices as common side dish in Korea, called chamoe jangajji.[3]


The word chamoe is a composite of words: cham meaning "good" or "real" and oe meaning "melon" or "cucumber".[5] Phylogenetic studies tracing the genetic lineage of the plant suggest that the Korean melon may have originated in East India.[3][5][6] They were then thought to have been introduced to China from the west via the Silk Road.[3][7]


The Korean melon is a cool sub-temperate crop, growing best with day temperatures between 24 to 29 degrees Celsius and night temperatures between 16 to 24 degrees Celsius.[3] It requires good sunlight and rich, well-drained, friable, and moisture-retaining soil.[3] It is drought tolerant, but requires sufficient water for optimal growth.[3]


The plant, a cucurbit, is an annual herbaceous plant that branches and trails.[3] The stem is angular and hirsute (hairy) and 7mm in diameter.[3] The leaves are reniform (kidney-shaped) with 5-7 lobes.[3] It is andromonoecious (both bisexual and male flowers on same plant) with yellow flowers.[3]


There are two major landraces of Oriental melon, Sunghwan and Gotgam.[8] The Gotgam Korean melon has the aroma of a dried persimmon, as reflected by its name.[8] These two landraces contain more nutrients and have greater disease resistance than other varieties.[8]

Cultural significance

South Korea National Treasure nos. 94 and 114 are both formed like the Korean melon.[5][9]

The annual Yeoju Geumsa Oriental Melon Festival (여주 금사참외축제) is held once a year, and visitors can sample the melons there.[10]

There is a Korean Melon Ecology Center in Seongju County, designed to educate the public regarding the cultivation and other aspects of the fruit.[11]

Other uses

The Korean melon has also been used as cattle feed.[3]

In Korean folk medicine, the fruit has been used for acute gastritis, fever, mental disorders, dysuria, jaundice, alcoholism, and hyperesthesia/paralysis.[12] The apex has been used as an emetic and for hepatitis, constipation, syphilis, jaundice, and edema.[12] The leaves have been used for blisters and alopecia,[12] and the seeds for indigestion and cough.[12]

Research suggests that the hexane extract of the seeds could be used as a way to control type 2 diabetes.[13][14] When hexane was used to extract fatty acids, it was found to contain linoleic acid, oleic acid, and palmitic acid.[13] The hexane extract was found to inhibit the enzymes alpha-glucosidase and alpha-amylase.[13][14] Theoretically, this could decrease the levels of blood sugars for patients with type 2 diabetes.[13][14]



  1. http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-94-007-1764-0_34
  2. http://www.fao.org/fao-who-codexalimentarius/sh-proxy/zh/%3Flnk%3D1%26url%3Dhttps%25253A%25252F%25252Fworkspace.fao.org%25252Fsites%25252Fcodex%25252FMeetings%25252FCX-718-48%25252FWD%25252Fpr48_12e.pdf&sa=U&ved=0ahUKEwjko9zJ6sbMAhXqIMAKHawBAKYQFggOMAM&client=internal-uds-cse&usg=AFQjCNFtpTtgNYvxUnUS5u7SLfjic923tQ
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 3.16 Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  4. 4.0 4.1 Boerman, Esther (7 February 2005). "All about melons". The Argus-Press. Owosso, Michigan. Retrieved 12 July 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "Oriental melon". Invil Central Council. Retrieved 13 July 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Kato, K.; Akashi, Y.; Tanaka, K.; Wako, T.; Masuda, M. (2001). "Genetic characterization of east and south Asian melons, Cucumis melo, by the analysis of molecular polymorphisms and morphological characters". Acta Hort. ISHS. 588: 217–222.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Kitamura, S. (1950). "Notes on Cucumis of Far East". Acta Phytotaxon Geobot. 14: 41–44.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  9. "Koreas Treasure No. 114". SkyNews (Korean Air Lines Co., Ltd.). Retrieved 13 July 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Yeoju Geumsa Oriental Melon Festival (여주 금사참외축제)". Korea Tourism Organization. Retrieved 9 July 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Oriental Melon Ecology Center". Invil Central Council. Retrieved 13 July 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 Ji-Xian Guo; Takeatsu Kimura; Paul P. H. But; Chung Ki Sung (1 January 2001). International Collation of Traditional and Folk Medicine, Vol 4. World Scientific. pp. 64–65. ISBN 978-981-281-035-9.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).