On the occurrence, distribution, taxonomy and genepool relationship of Cucumis callosus (Rottler) Cogn., the wild progenitor of Cucumis melo L. from India.
Recent research point to the Indian wild taxa of Cucumis callosus (Rottler) Cogn. as the wild progenitor of melon (C. melo L.). Overlapping distribution with cultivated and weedy and feral forms of melo and normal fertility of F1 and BC1 generations of its cross with cultivated melon indicate its progenitor status. A perusal of herbarium data indicate its natural distribution pattern in the region comprising Vindhya Hills and Aravalli mountain ranges extending northwards to Indo-Gangetic plains and southwards to the Deccan plateau touching rain shadow areas of Western Ghats. Characterised by drought tolerance and field resistance to a host of pests and diseases, it is conspicuously absent in the high rainfall areas of Western Ghats and upper Himalayan region. Based on its morphological distinction and F1 and BC1 fertility with C. melo, a subspecific rank within C. melo is postulated. First-hand information on its occurrence, distribution and crossability relationship with other Indian taxa of Cucumis are given.