Cantaloupe is a annual plant that reproduces sexually. Cantaloupes flowers are monoecious, meaning they have individual female and male flowers. Both male and female flowers though can be found on the same plant which can lead to self pollination (this can lead to low genetic variation meaning parasites and bacteria can infect more easily). All plants  (including Cucumis melo) have a alternation of generation, which is a life cycle where a multicellular diploid stage is followed by a haploid stage.


Cucumis melo starts off its life as a endosperm, or a seed. It then germinates and grows into a cantaloupe vine.  Overtime, Cucumis melo will develop both male and female flowers. Female flowers consist of ovary below the petals, stigma, and pistil. Male Flower does not have any of these things and instead has a object called an anther, which produces pollen.


The actual pollination takes place when the pollen grains of the male flower are taken to the  female flower by a pollinator, say, a bumble bee. The pollen sticks to the stigma. The stigma acts as a receptive surface where the  pollen attaches and travels down the pollen tube through the pistil all the way to the ovule. Once the sperm reaches the ovule, they will fertilize female gametophytes called ovas.  Once fertilized, the flower will die, forming a seed pod. This seed pod will eventually become a delicious cantaloupe melon. The melon will then be eaten by animals, transporting the seeds to new locations, or the melon will rot, returning the seeds to the soil to start another generation.

growth of cantaloupe 

(growth of cantaloupe from seed pod to melon) photo by Donovan Gutierrez


home                         to learn about how cantaloupe obtains energy click here