This delicious desert melon is native to southern Angola, Namibia and western South Africa, where it grows along the Atlantic coast in places with ground water access in one of the world's driest deserts. It forms a fiercely spiny shrub to about 1 m tall that can cover vast areas and reach ages of 100 years or more. The sweet and nutty tasting, watery fruits weigh up to 1 kg and hold many edible and delicious oil and protein-rich seeds known as butternuts or butterpips. Both fruit and seeds are an important food source for indigenous people of the Namib desert and many animals, and the plants are also used in traditional medicine. Recently, the seeds have been used in confectionery and for cosmetics. Apparently the Nara Melon is not cultivated anywhere but could be an interesting specialty crop for cool, coastal deserts such as in Chile and Peru and Southern California and northwestern Mexico.
Acanthosicyos horridus - Nara Melon
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