Namib Tsamma Melon
The Namib tsamma is an important water source for the animals and people of the Namib desert of southern Africa. A desert vine, it relies on water found deep in the ground, and morning fogs.
The vine can crawl for up to around 2 metres, with no tendrils and produces bright yellow flowers around 3m in diameter. Leaves are deeply lobed, reaching around 15cm long, and somewhat hairy to better catch moisture from fog in the wild.
Tsamma melons can reach up to 20cm in diameter and weigh at around 1kg when grown in the wild; cultivated melons can grow larger and heavier. Their skin is similarly coloured to a traditional watermelon, but the flesh is a pale yellowish white colour. Not particularly flavourful, they can be either mildly sweet or bitter, though bitter melons are typically discarded.
The fruits store well and most parts can be used. The flesh can be cooked in stews, and seeds can be dried or roasted, eaten whole or ground into a flour, also producing an oil that can be cooked with. The leaves can also be cooked like spinach.
Enjoys full sun and a well draining soil.
Frost tender and should be kept above 0°C.