Cantaloupe and muskmelon

Herb Stahlke hstahlke at GW.BSU.EDU
Thu Aug 3 18:12:05 UTC 2000

Yesterday while grocery shopping I asked the produce manager the price
of cantaloupe.  She responded, "Do you mean those muskmelons or the
cantaloupe over there?"  After I got the price, I asked her what the
difference was between the.  She said that she thought they were the
same but that the produce department made a distinction between the
smaller rough-skinned cantaloupe and the larger, Indiana-grown melon
that has natural seams.

The RHD distinguishes cantaloupe as the specific Armenian variety of
Cucumis Melo first grown at the papal estate at Cantelupo, near Rome.
Muskmelons are also Cucumis Melo, but several different varieties.

As a child, I got the impression, or perhaps was taught, I'm not sure
which, that cantaloupe was a formal, "proper" name for what was
colloquially called muskmelon.  Some people in SE Michigan also called
them all "mushmelon".

What distinctions do you find between the two terms among people who are
not produce managers, gardeners, or botanists?

Herb Stahlke

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