What's the Difference Between Seedless and Seeded Watermelons?

What's the Difference Between Seedless and Seeded Watermelons?

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Sheela Prakash
Aug 2, 2016
(Image credit: Evgeniia Zagreeva//Shutterstock)

Perhaps the biggest question to answer when it comes to purchasing that heavy watermelon for your weekend cookout is whether to buy a classic seeded one or go for the seedless variety. Besides the obvious fact that seedless watermelons don't contain those hard black seeds, what's actually the difference between the two?

The Difference Between Seeded and Seedless Watermelon

The difference between the two is that while traditional, seeded watermelon contains hard black seeds, seedless watermelon has been bred to produce very soft and pliant edible seeds.

Seeded Watermelons

This is what we know as a traditional watermelon. It's extra large and oblong with a thick green rind, pink flesh, and black seeds. The seeds are fertile, which means that they would grow into a watermelon plant if planted. For a long time, this was the only kind of watermelon that existed, and spitting the seeds at your family and friends was half the fun of eating the fruit.

Seedless Watermelons

Seedless watermelons were created over 50 years ago. To make this kind of fruit possible, male pollen for watermelons, which has 22 chromosomes per cell, is crossed with female watermelon flowers that have been chemically altered to have 44 chromosomes per cell instead of 22. No genetic modification is involved in this process. Instead, the resulting watermelon is a triploid, meaning it has 33 chromosomes instead of 22. This makes it a sterile hybrid of traditional watermelon, which means it's incapable of producing mature, and therefore, fertile, black seeds. So any seeds the fruit tries to produce remain immature hollow shells, which are the white seeds that are so common in seedless watermelons.

More posts in Little Seeds, Big Melon
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