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Pepino melon (Solanum muricatum) is solanaceae herbaceous plant.  S. muricatum is a tropical species of
temperate mountain and coastal climate. Its growth is favored by between 500 – 800
mm annual rainfalls. The plant is native to the Andean regions of Colombia,
Ecuador, and Peru where it is also cultivated and consumed (Heiser, 1964). The
original cultivation of S. muricatum extended along the Andes, from southern
Colombia to Bolivia and the Peruvian coast. Its cultivation was later embraced
in Mexico and Central America, where its recognition was S. guatemalense. The
growth of Pepino plants propagated vegetatively is quick and flowering is
initiated four or five months after planting whereas plants propagated by seeds
take a longer time to attain maturity. In nature, it is a perennial plant
although it is usually cultivated as an annual (Jordan et al. 1993). This is because the yield and quality of the fruit
subsequently reduce and growers only benefit from the first two fruiting
seasons. The pepino plants have a nature of producing multiple branches with
Simple or pinnated leaves. The inflorescence is sub terminal with few flowers.
The flowers are pentamerous, the calyx persists on the fruit and the
actinomorphous corolla is 2 cm in diameter and blue in colour with white
margins. The stamens are shorter than the corolla; the anthers are yellow,
connivent and dehiscent through apical pores. The style emerges slightly in between
the anthers. The pepino fruits have varying shapes, sizes, colors, and
qualities(Prohens, Ruiz, & Nuez, 1996). The fruits can
be ovoid, conical to sub spherical, and may be with or without seeds. Inside
they are somewhat watery and pleasantly flavored, but normally not over-sweet
(Anonymous 1989). At present, pepino remains a little-known crop which is
currently unexplored and underexploited (Anonymous 1989). Pepino is already
being grown under modern and controlled conditions in countries like Chile, New
Zealand and Carlifornia (Cornejo et al.
1990), but not on a large scale. The international markets (Europe, Japan, and
the United States) have been opening in recent years (Anonymous 1989).

                                                                                                      

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