(Citrullus lanatus) I don’t think I ever would have guessed, with all our beans and corns, our many species of flowers with their intricate seed designs and adaptations, that perhaps the most beautiful seed in our collection would come from ... a watermelon. This Turkish variety whose name translates roughly as “hand-carved” was sent to us by Mehmet Öztan who named the variety and introduced it in the US. His seed company ‘Two Seeds in a Pod’ specializes in Turkish heritage varieties and is full of rare treasures like this. The seeds start mostly black with a subtle design of white cracking that gets more and more pronounced as it dries. Since posting a picture on social media this summer we heard back from a grower in Extremadura in Western Spain who stewards similar landrace watermelons with this type of seed (both yellow and red flesh) and we’ve heard there might be a similar Japanese variety. Mehmet’s was collected Izmir in westernmost Anatolia but its specific Turkish place of origin is not known. While the seed may be the star, the fruit is certainly a very worthy co-star, wonderfully sweet pink-red flesh with excellent texture and a convenient 3-4# icebox size. But, with this degree of botanical seed splendor, it feels almost irrelevant that it came from a delicious watermelon. It stands entirely on its own exquisite beauty, not just one of potential. And if I ever needed another reason to rant against the joylessness of seedless watermelons (which believe me, I don’t) well...here you go.
85-90 days. UO
Packet: 15 seeds