Cantaloupe (also cantaloup, muskmelon or rockmelon) refers to two varieties of Cucumis melo, which is a species in the family Cucurbitaceae, which includes nearly all melons and squashes).
The European cantaloupe is Cucumis melo cantalupensis. It is lightly rubbed, with a gray-green skin that looks quite different from that of the North American cantaloupe.
The North American cantaloupe, common in the United States and in some parts of Canada, is Cucumis melo reticulatus (or sometimes C. melo var. cantalupensis), a different member of the same muskmelon species. It is named reticulatus due to its net-like (or reticulated) skin covering. It is a round melon with firm, orange, moderately-sweet flesh and a thin reticulated light-brown rind. Varieties with redder and yellower flesh exist but are not common in the U.S market. Because of the Cantaloupe’s unique texture, it is frequently referred to as “wickermelon”.
Because they is descended from tropical plants, and tend to require warm temperatures throughout a relatively long growing period, cantaloupes grown in temperate climates are frequently started indoors, and grown indoors for 14 days or longer, before being transplanted outdoors. Cantaloupe are often picked, and shipped, before fully ripening.
Cantaloupe is normally eaten as a fresh fruit, as a salad, or as a dessert with ice cream or custard.