Kiwano Landrace Update

Yesterday I opened the last of the kiwano melons that were harvested around mid-October because we had a very early frost that killed the plants. Most of the plants were extremely frost sensitive. They were still very juicy and the flavors were more developed though I am not that big of a fan of the flavor. I primarily tasted notes of green grass, kiwi and lemon. The green grass part is a bit off putting and they are not very sweet at all. Despite the low marks on flavor, I will definitely be growing them again because of their incredible storage, productivity, drought and heat tolerance. I only had about 6 plants produce the pile of melons and they would have kept going if not for the frost. Hopefully I can do a bit more selection in the coming years towards sweeter and better flavored fruits and earlier producing plants. Many of the seeds I planted did not come up so there was quite a bit of selection just from low germination and I am keeping most all the seed from the melons that did produce which amounts to several hundred seeds. The original seed came from Buffalo Seed Company and was the African landrace.
The photo of them green is when I picked them and the yellowest ones are what I opened up the other day.


What is the texture like? From the look of them I’m imagining it’s like an orange but in little packet form.
If you could select for lemon flavor that would be cool. Home grown lemonade for Northerners? Lol

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Oh! Good point! My kids keep saying they want a lemon tree because they like lemonade. I’ve explained to them that I don’t want enormous sharp thorns in my yard, and lemon trees aren’t anywhere near hardy enough for our winters, anyway.

If these could be squeezed into a juice mixed with sugar that tasted somewhat similar to lemonade, though . . . that would be really interesting! I don’t like the sound of the grass taste, but kiwi and lemon sounds like a great flavor combination. If we can nudge it towards just those, that would be great.

Yeah, the storage life, productivity, drought tolerance, heat tolerance, and ability to ripen indoors are all very appealing. That makes those good solid fruits to eat in the winter. Hopefully we can breed some good sweetness into these. Obviously, let’s keep on sharing seeds from our best flavored fruits with each other each year!


The texture of the green part is jelly like and then there are fibrous structures that hold it all together which are tougher and I don’t eat that.

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Did you continue with kiwanos in 2023? And about the landrace aspect: was there much variability within plants and fruits, and notably taste?
In Europe, as I have only found “pure” strains, either round or oval, I chose to create a very moderately diverse landrace by crossing those two shapes/strains. It is going ok so far, but without much differences between plants and fruit’taste

My kiwanos were very similar to those, maybe mine got more spikes.

Yes, same for me with my initial strain

Not intentionally. :slight_smile: I got busy with many things and never planted them in time. However, about 4 volunteers came up and produced about as many kiwanos as the ones I intentionally planted in 2022. The flavor is about the same. There is no noticeable difference. There is some variation in this strain. Buffalo Seed Company sold me the original seeds. They carry two landraces from Africa. I think the USDA germplasm has many accessions.
I’ll plant out seeds I saved this year and from the bulk of what I saved in 2022.


This is awesome! Try hybridizing it with Cucumis melo to improve Flavor & Add Sweetness, It has been proven to be partially Cross Compatible & Hybrids Exist! Also I would Love to get some Seeds if possible, maybe we can make a GoingToSeed Grex of C.melo x C. meltuliferus.

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Sumacs (Rhus spp.) can solve that issue. They are a Wild Edible that makes an Excellent Lemonade Substitute coined as Sumacade by Foragers. Sumac is very Cold Hardy & Grows like a weed.

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True. It is a wild plant here that I’ve found growing near the river.

Which species do you have? Sumacs fall under 2 subgenera that (As Far as I Know) don’t Hybridize

Fragrant sumac, the one with the red berries. What’s the other species? It’s possible we have that, too; we have a lot more trees that look just like it and don’t seem to have berries.