Cantaloupe and muskmelon

James Smith jsmithjamessmith at YAHOO.COM
Wed Aug 9 15:52:01 UTC 2000

My understanding of the difference, for what its
worth, is that the New World variety is muskmelon and
the Old World variety is canteloupe, but most North
Americans call a muskmelon a canteloupe because of the
dominant influence of Old World culture in N. America
and because the two varieties are basically the same
in the eyes of us common folk.  This has just been
picked up in bits and pieces through the years, no
single source.

Someone at Burpee or another seed supplier might
provide enlightenment, if any of you have a contact
with such a person.

--- Beverly Flanigan <flanigan at OAK.CATS.OHIOU.EDU>
> At 01:12 PM 8/3/00 -0500, you wrote:
> >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
> Funny you should ask--my brother asked me this very
> question when I was
> visiting in Minnesota last week.  As kids we always
> said 'muskmelon', but I
> think I felt the "proper" term was 'cantaloupe' as I
> grew up and moved
> away, while he did not.  Our sense is that they
> refer to the same fruit
> (vegetable?).  The two dept. secretaries here in
> southern Ohio differed,
> however.  The older uses both terms (and hears
> 'mushmelon' among still
> older people, as I do here but did not in
> Minnesota), while the younger one
> only uses 'cantaloupe' and claims not to know the
> term 'muskmelon' at all
> (a dubious claim, I suspect).  I've never heard of a
> texture-based
> difference; that does indeed sound like a
> commercially made up distinction.
> _____________________________________________
> Beverly Olson Flanigan         Department of
> Linguistics
> Ohio University                     Athens, OH
> 45701
> Ph.: (740) 593-4568              Fax: (740) 593-2967

James D. SMITH                 |If history teaches anything
SLC, UT                        |it is that we will be sued
jsmithjamessmith at     |whether we act quickly and decisively
                               |or slowly and cautiously.

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