|Plant with flowers and ripening fruit|
It is known as pepino dulce ("sweet cucumber" in English, in order to differentiate it from cucumber which is also called "pepino" in Spanish) or simply pepino; the latter is also used for similar species such as "S. mucronatum" (which actually seems to belong in the related genus Lycianthes). The pepino dulce fruit resembles a melon (Cucumis melo) in color, and its flavor recalls a succulent mixture of honeydew and cucumber, and thus it is also sometimes called pepino melon or melon pear. Another common name, "tree melon", is more often used for the papaya (Carica papaya) though the pepino dulce plant generally does not look much like a tree; it looks more like a ground cover, trailing plant. The present species is, however, a close relative of other nightshades cultivated for their fruit, including the tomato (S. lycopersicum) and the eggplant (S. melongena), which its own fruit closely resembles.
The fruit is common in markets in Colombia, Kenya, Bolivia, Peru and Chile, but less often overseas because it is quite sensitive to handling and does not travel well. Attempts to produce commercial cultivars and to export the fruit have been made in New Zealand, Turkey, Mauritius and Chile.
pepino melon (plural pepino melons)
- A South American plant in the nightshade family Solanaceae, cultivated for its melon-like fruit, Solanum muricatum.
- melon pear