How To Grow Nara Melons

In Namɪʙɪᴀ’s Namib Desert, there is a plant that grows along the coast. It is vital not just to the bush people of that region, but also to the preservation of the region’s unique desert ecology. In this area, Nara melon plants grow wild and are an important food source for the indigenous Topnaar people. So, what exactly is a nara melon, and what additional nara bush knowledge is useful for growing nara melons?


Despite their growth environment, Nara melon plants (Acanthosicyos horridus) are not categorized as desert plants. Naras rely on underground water and, as a result, bear extensive roots in search of it. Nara melons, which are related to cucumbers, are an old species with fossil evidence reaching back 40 million years. It was most likely responsible for Stone Age tribes surviving into current times.

The plant is leafless, an adaptation that evolved to prevent the plant from losing water due to evaporation via the leaves. Sharp spines grow on grooved stems when stomata are found, and the shrub is densely knotted. All portions of the plant, including the blooms, are photosynthetic and green.

On different plants, male and female flowers are produced. The warty, enlarged ovary that matures into a fruit distinguishes the female blooms.

The fruit starts out green, then becomes orange-yellow as it reaches the size of a baby’s head, with many cream colored seeds embedded in the pulp. Protein and iron are abundant in this fruit.

The plant has no leaves, an adaptation that evolved to reduce water ʟᴏss by evaporation through the leaves. When stomata are identified, sharp spines sprout on grooved stems, and the plant becomes tightly knotted.

The bʟᴏssoms, like the rest of the plant, are photosynthetic and green. Male and female flowers are produced on distinct plants. Female flowers are distinguished by their warty, larger ovary, which matures into a fruit.

The fruit starts out green, then becomes orange-yellow as it grows larger, with many cream-colored seeds imbedded in the pulp. This fruit is high in protein and iron.

Growing nara melons is a unique feature in this portion of the desert, hence it fills an essential ecological niche. The plants grow only near subterranean water and trap sand to produce high dunes, sustaining the Namib’s peculiar morphology.

Nara is also home to a variety of insects and reptiles, including the dune dweller lizard. Giraffes, Oryx, rhinos, jackals, hyenas, gerbils, and beetles are among the animals that desire a piece of the nara bush melon.

The nara melon is used medicinally by Native Americans to ease stomach ache, promote healing, and moisturize and protect skin from the sun.

How to grow nara melon is a difficult question. This plant should have a unique habitat that cannot be duplicated. It can, however, be used in a xeriscape to simulate its natural surroundings.

The plant requires full light and is hardy to USDA zone 11. Seeds or cuttings can be used to propagate Nara.

Because the vines may grow up to 30 feet (9 meters) broad in some situations, space the plants 36 to 48 inches (91-122 cm) apart and give them plenty of freedom to flourish in the yard.

Again, nara melon may not be suitable for the typical gardener, but those who live in an acceptable region and have enough room for this plant can try it. Nara blooms from mid to late summer, and the bʟᴏssoms attract pollinators such as butterflies, bees, and birds.


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