Sandía cagilón

Crop: Citrullus lanatus Thumb. (Watermelon )

According to the testimony of the local farmers, its cultivation has been known for more than 60 years. The raw fruit is consumed as a dessert during the summer months, being very appreciated at this time for its high-water content. Discarded fruits are used as a food supplement for farmyard animals

 

The fruit is elongated, about 20 cm diameter and between 40 to 60 cm long.

 

The average weight ranges between 8 and 14 kg.

 

Its skin is dark green, thin and fragile, but resistant to direct sunlight.

 

The flesh is deep red, with cream-colored seeds of great size and in small number of them per fruit.

 

The sowing usually takes place from March to April, when the risk of frost is reduced. It blooms at the end of May and the first of June. The first ripe fruits are at the end of June and in the month of July, and the production is extended until August. Each plant can produce four to eight watermelons.

The plant is very leafy, with very broad stems. It has few tendrils and the leaves in intense green, divided into five segments. The flowers are soft yellow, almost white, with stamens of an intense yellow.

Two variants of the landrace are known, showing differences on the color of the striped skin (yellow or black).

Cultivation System: ND.

Geographical Information

Country: Spain

It is cultivated in the Doñana region. In the province of Huelva, its cultivation has been registered in the municipalities of Almonte, Bollullos Par del Condado, Hinojos and Rociana del Condado; and in the province of Seville, in the municipality of Villamanrique de la Condesa.

It is a rainfed crop, which grows well on loose and sandy soils.


Farmer(s) description:

Only a few farmers are still cultivating this landrace and the number keeps decreasing.


Propagation system: Seed, cross-pollination

Multiplication procedures and consequences on landrace diversity:

To obtain the seeds, the fruits that are considered best because of their size and flavour are selected. The seeds are separate as the watermelon is consumed. The seeds are not washed, they are left to dry with the pulp remains, in a dry and sunny place.

Once dried, the seeds are stored in a dry and protected place.

Management plan existence:

The landrace management relies completely on farming activities in the area.

Added Values

Market - existing and novel:

It is being less cultivated in the zone and those that do produced it, they do it for self-consumption.

This abandonment is due, on the one hand, to the progressive abandonment of vegetable gardens and agriculture for self-consumption and, on the other hand, due to the difficulties it presents for its commercialization. These are due to the fragility of the skin that does not make it suitable for the current forms of transport and the large size of the fruit that is not accepted by many consumers.

Others (e.g. commercial/geographical brands or special traits):

The local perception highlights its ability to reproduce the plant up to three consecutive years in the same place without the quality of the fruit being affected, as opposed to other varieties of the same species.

It has usually a juicy flesh with a soft texture, with a sweet flavour, and a low number of seeds that facilitates its consumption.

It is highly valued for its flavour, colour and texture, considering it to be sweeter, redder and with a smoother or non-gritty texture than other commercial varieties present in the area.


There are plant material samples stored at the CRF (National Center of Pant Genetic Resources). ID: NC078850.

Case study provided by Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Madrid, Spain.

Most of information have been provided by Clara Álvarez Muñiz.

  • Rodríguez Franco, R. Contributions to the file of ‘Sandía de Cagilón’. In: CONECT-e. ‘Sharing Traditional Ecological Knowledge’, from conecte.es/index.php/es/variedades/469-sandia-de-cagilon/descripcion [Accessed in April, 2019]. This work is licensed under a creative commons attribution 4.0 international license.
  • Tardío, Javier; Pardo de Santayana, Manuel; Morales, Ramón; Molina, María & Aceituno, Laura (editores). 2018. Inventario español de conocimientos tradicionales relativos a la Biodiversidad Agrícola. Vol. 1. Ministerio de Agricultura, Pesca y Alimentación. Madrid. 420 pp.