This fruit, whose name means “little field melon,” is found in the Cerrado. It is a native species that is very similar to melons and watermelons, and belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family. The skin has stripes that vary between two shades of green, while the flesh tastes like sugared water and can be eaten raw. The plant spreads quickly and is considered a weed in pasture areas, which means that the fruit is at risk of disappearing from the Cerrado as the “weed” is exterminated.
The melãozinho-do-campo is also eaten by animals in the Cerrado, such as the maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus), the hoary fox (Lycalopex vetulus), and the crab-eating fox (Cerdocyon thous), which are attracted by ripe fruit. The plant is an herbaceous vine that grows along the ground. The plant’s branches can grow to between 2 and 5 meters in length. The leaves are heart-shaped (cordate), have a rough texture, and are used in traditional medicine as a vermicide or to treat gastrointestinal disorders. The fruits start to appear between 6 and 9 months after planting and ripen in the dry season, between the months of April and July. The seeds are also eaten by birds.
The fruit is eaten as it is and is used to make juices, sorbets, sweets, and jellies.
O melãozinho do campo também serve de alimento para espécies de animais encontradas no bioma, como o lobo-guará, a raposa-do-campo e o cachorro-do-mato, atraídos pelos frutos maduros. A fruta desenvolve-se em uma trepadeira herbácea e cresce rasteiramente. Seus ramos podem atingir entre 2 e 5 metros de comprimento. As folhas apresentam formato de coração (cordiforme), têm textura áspera e são utilizadas na medicina popular como vermífugo e para o tratamento de problemas intestinais. Os frutos começam a aparecer entre seis e nove meses após o plantio e amadurecem durante a seca - entre os meses de abril e julho. As sementes também servem de alimentos para pássaros.
Consumo in natura, em sucos, sorvetes, doces e geleias.