University of California

Inheritance of certain fruit and seed characters in watermelons


D. R. Porter

Author Affiliations

D. R. Porter was Associate Professor of Truck Crops and Associate Olericulturist in the Experiment Station.

Publication Information

Hilgardia 10(12):489-509. DOI:10.3733/hilg.v10n12p489. January 1937.

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With the increased interest being manifested in the development of new varieties of watermelons, Citrullus vulgaris (Schrad.), additional information is needed on the mode of inheritance of certain quantitative and qualitative characters. Many of the newer strains resistant to Fusarium wilt have resulted from hybridization of parents of diverse foliage, fruit, and seed characters. As experience has demonstrated, it is possible to establish and maintain resistance, but more difficult to purify new strains with respect to certain other characters. The plant breeder should not release resistant strains to the trade until they are relatively homozygous for seed characters, fruit type, fruit-skin color, and are uniformly satisfactory in quality. The mode of inheritance has a definite bearing on the problem.

The watermelon has not been extensively analyzed genetically or cytologically, probably because of the relatively large area of land necessary to mature fruits in sufficient quantity to provide a population for genetic analysis. The crop is somewhat limited, furthermore, by regional adaptation and by the length of the growing season; and it is not particularly high in food value.

Of the many varieties of watermelons known, relatively few are grown extensively. Regional adaptation, market preference, and wilt resistance determine the variety or varieties preferable for a particular district. In the North, where frosts occur early in the fall, quick-maturing varieties are needed. Southern districts favor varieties with a tough (usually thick) rind suited for shipment to the northern markets.

Literature Cited

[1] Kanda Takishi. The inheritance of seed coat coloring in the watermelon. Japanese Jour. Genetics. 1931. 7:30-48. DOI: 10.1266/jjg.7.30 [CrossRef]

[2] McKay J. W. Factor interaction in Citrullus. Jour. Heredity. 1936. 27:110-112.

[3] Orton W. A. The development of disease resistant varieties of plants. IV Conf. Internationale de Genetique, Paris. Comptes Rendus et Rapports 1911. pp.247-265.

[4] Porter D. R., Melhus I. E. The pathogenicity of Fusarium niveum (EFS 1932 and the development of wilt resistant strains of Citrullus vulgaris (Schrad.). Iowa Agr. Exp. Sta. Research Bul. 149:123-184.

[5] Porter D. R. Watermelon breeding. Hilgardia. 1933. 7:585-624. DOI: 10.3733/hilg.v07n15p585 [CrossRef]

[6] Rosa J. T. The inheritance of flower type in Cucumis and Citrullus. Hilgardia. 1928. 3:233-250. DOI: 10.3733/hilg.v03n09p233 [CrossRef]

Porter D. 1937. Inheritance of certain fruit and seed characters in watermelons. Hilgardia 10(12):489-509. DOI:10.3733/hilg.v10n12p489
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