Watermelon plants usually yield only 1 to 4 fruit per harvest, but a new variety created by an agricultural technology company in China has recently set a new Guinness Record after yielding no less than 131 massive fruit.
The Chinese seem to be really good at creating super plants. Just weeks after we posted about their impressive “octopus tomato trees” that can yield over 30,000 fruits at a time, we bring you the “watermelon king”, a new breed of watermelon that can set over 100 viable fruits per plant. Created by the Zhengzhou Research Seedling Technology Co., Ltd., the plant has been acknowledged as the most productive watermelon plant in the world after yielding 131 fruit in just 90 days.
While typical watermelon plants may also set dozens of fruit in the beginning, they then abort most of them, with only the strongest of fruit remaining to ripen. But the new super-plant developed by agronomist Zhu Xuegang and his research team didn’t let any of the watermelons shrivel up and die. Planted on April 26, on a 100-square-meter plot in Xizheng, the vine sprouted from the ground on May 1st, started flowering on June 1st and by July 31st, the 131 melons were ready for harvest.
Although the number of fruit is definitely impressive, the size and and weight of the fruits is even more so. With such a bountiful harvest from a single plant, one would expect the fruits to be of inferior quality, but that is not the case. The average weight of the watermelons was 10 kilograms, with the smallest weighing 5 kilograms and the largest a whopping 19 kilograms.
Code-named “Tianlong 1508”, the plant is said to have high disease resistance and a capacity to thrive even in sandy soil. The one thing that Xuegang claims was vital to its record-breaking production was the temperature of the water. Instead of using cold water, he and his team installed cisterns on the plot and monitored the temperature of the water mixed with fertilizer throughout the 90 day period. Other than that, he claims all they had to do was untangle the vines every morning so they could all develop properly.
It’s not clear if or when the Tianlong 1508 melon plant will be available commercially, but for the time being its creators seem content to have broken the limits of traditional watermelon production.
Photos via Best China News