Charentais Melon

Welcome to the Atlas Obscura Community discussion of Charentais Melon. Ask questions or share tips, experiences, pictures, or general comments with the community. For the story behind this food, check out the Atlas Obscura entry:

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The pictured melon has only nine stripes, while the article says it must have 10.

For those interested in trying to grow them (with the standard warnings about terroir) Charentais Melon, Seeds | Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

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I am definitely a Francophile so when I saw these Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, I ordered some and planted them. All of mine, even the tiniest, have 10 stripes. I doubt that they’re ripe as they have no odor at all but the vines were killed by squash vine borers and the melons are under attack by squash bugs.

Here’s the photo after cutting the biggest one:

Too bad. It’s ok but nowhere near ripe. Not sweet. I will try again and defend them against garden pests!

Came here to say the same thing about the stripes. Also charentais don’t slip from the vine. Every gardening book or website I’ve ever read says they need to be cut from the vine.

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Hi Beth. Thanks for catching that (looks like Charentais had some eager pickers that year – whoops). We’ve removed the picture. Take care!

Hi Dan. Thanks for catching that (looks like Charentais had some eager pickers that year – whoops). We’ve removed the picture.

if you plant sweet annie around or near your crop (a little late, I know) it confuses scent oriented pests. I use it to keep cucumber beetles off my cukes-might work for your melons in future (as for stripes-you could see if there are any forums on this melon. Could be as simple as a shift in soil ph or starting seedlings indoors to simulate a warmer climate. )


Thanks! I’ll look into Sweet Annie for companion planting.
BTW I cut my not-yet-ripe little melons into cubes and “marinated” in orange and peach juices for a couple of days. Not bad!


There’s nothing really special about the 10 stripes. Nearly every member of the cucurbit family (squashes, gourds, melons, pumpkins; and also cucumbers, loofahs, and monkfruit) has a 10-fold pattern. In some plants it show up as stripes, in others as indentations. Sometimes alternate stripes are less visible and it looks like there are only five.

On Charentais melons the stripes are really easy to notice, but if you look at a pumpkin or gourd you’ll see them also.