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Is Watermelon a Fruit or a Vegetable?

In case you haven’t heard, those tomatoes in the vegetable garden? They’re really fruit. Scientifically speaking, the tomato develops from the ovary at the base of its flower, and it contains the plant's seeds, so it’s technically a fruit. Weird, huh? Watermelons, on the other hand, are really vegetables -- but only in the state of Oklahoma. That’s because the state’s politicians decided to make the watermelon the official state vegetable in 2007. State Senator Don Barrington, who sponsored the legislation, hoped to buoy his constituents in the Rush Springs area, a hotbed for watermelon growing and seed spitting at the area's annual watermelon festivals. The title of "official state fruit" had already been taken by the strawberry, so somehow the watermelon was classified as a vegetable, on the vague grounds that it's related to the cucumber. Everywhere else, it's definitely a fruit.

Okay, Oklahoma:

  • “The controversy on whether watermelon is a fruit or vegetable has been officially decided by the Oklahoma legislature,” Barrington said, tongue in cheek.

  • The legislation was scrutinized in 2015, but the watermelon appears to still be clinging on to its bizarre vegetable status.

  • For the record, Oklahoma's official state animal is the American Buffalo, the state insect is the honeybee, and the state’s flying mammal is the Mexican free-tailed bat.

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