The Thorny Melon

It does not have a very conventional look, I know, but you would be shocked at what this not-so-conventional-looking fruit has to offer. It is actually native to Africa, and is now grown commercially in countries like New Zealand, North America and Portugal.

In New Zealand, it was renamed ‘Kiwano’ due to its internal resemblance to the Kiwi Fruit. However, there is no relation between the two fruits.


  • Seeds have Vitamin E, which is good for skin health and maintenance of the heart, nerves and cells. Research also shows that it protects against Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s.
  • The yellowish green flesh is indicative of its Beta-Carotene (Vitamin A) content, which is good to maintain eye health, maintain health of various tracts and prevent infections. This also helps to slow down the aging process
  • It’s also rich in Vitamin C, giving about 18% of the recommended daily allowance. This vitamin is important to boost immune system and promote repair and maintenance of tissue, therefore facilitating faster wound healing and slower aging.
  • The seeds also contain linoleic acid, one of the essential fatty acids (omega 6). They also contain oleic acid which is great for reducing the effects of blood pressure.
  • Other minerals present include iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium which are all very beneficial to our health.

How to eat it!

  1. Cut the melon into half and scoop out the pulp, add some sugar and lemon to spice up the taste
  2. The pulp brings a unique taste when spread over ice cream and yoghurt
  3. Can be used as salad dressing
  4. Cut it into strips like watermelon and munch.


Other names of the Thorny Melon include Horned melon and African horned cucumber. Locally I hear it is referred to as ‘passion mwitu’.




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