Citrullus is a genus of seven species of desert vines, among which Citrullus lanatus (the watermelon) is an important crop. Molecular data, including sequences from the original collection of Momordica lanata made near Cape Town by C. P. Thunberg in 1773 show that what Thunberg collected is not what has been called Citrullus lanatus, the domesticated watermelon, since the 1930s. Although this error only occurred in 1930 (Bailey, Gentes Herbarum 2: 180–186), it has been perpetuated in hundreds of papers on the watermelon. In addition, there is an older name for the watermelon, Citrullus battich Forssk. (Fl. Aegypt.-Arab.: 167. Jun 1775), which would normally have to the precedence over Momordica lanata Thunberg (Prodr. Pl. Cap.: 13. 1794).
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