In Namibia’s Desert, a plant grows along the shore. It is vital not just to the indigenous people of that region, but also to the distinctive desert habitat’s preservation. The indigenous Topnaar people rely on Nara melon plants, which grow wild in this environment.

In this blog we are going to dive deep into this local fruit and how it has been an offering of sustenance to the community and animal life that reside in this dry and intregreging desert land. 

Physical description 

The warty, enlarged ovary that matures into a fruit is what distinguishes the female flowers from the males. The fruit starts off green, then becomes orange-yellow until it reaches the size of a baby’s head, with numerous cream-coloured seeds embedded in the pulp. Protein and iron are abundant in this fruit.

The shrub has no leaves and produces oblong spherical fruits with a diameter of up to 25 cm on average. Plants can form sand deposits around themselves and continue to develop until they are above the sand deposits.

It may be found in sand dunes near the underground water, as well as along the many rivers in Namibia and southern Angola that flow into the Atlantic Ocean. As a result, it is only found in the Namib Desert on Namibia’s west coast.

How to grow it

How to cultivate nara melons is a difficult question. This plant should have a unique environment that can’t be duplicated. It may, however, be utilized in a xeriscape, where the circumstances are similar to those in its native habitat. The plant requires direct sunlight. Seeds or cuttings can be used to propagate Nara. Plant the vines 91 to 122 cm apart and allow them plenty of area in the garden to develop, as the vines may reach a width of up to 9 meters in some circumstances. The Nara melon may not be suited for the ordinary gardener, but those who live in the right climate and have enough room for this plant can give it a try. Nara blooms from mid- to late-summer, and the blossoms attract pollinators such as butterflies, bees, and birds.

Purpose of the fruit 

It is a fantastic thirst quencher, having a light, sweet, juicy flavor. It can also be consumed as a fruit or cooked into a pulp. It’s no surprise that the Nara melon has provided nourishment to the Topnaar people near the Kuiseb River for many years. This melon is also enjoyed by tenebrionid beetles, birds, gemsbok, hyenas, jackals, mice, and porcupines. It is unquestionably a delicacy that anyone would enjoy eating!

Nutritional value

Antioxidants, Omega-6 essential fatty acids, and vitamins are abundant in the fruit’s cold pressed oil. It’s also permeable because it transports vital antioxidants, vitamins, and moisture inside the hydro lipid membrane that covers the skin, rehydrating and restoring sensitive skin. As a result, the necessary saturated fats and vitamins in the oil are ideal for those with sensitive or dry skin. 

The oil may also be used as a sunblock, massage and tissue lubricant, as well as to soothe scalps and promote healthy hair development. It may also be used as a culinary oil, whether in salads or as a vinaigrette to drizzle over your favorite meals, thanks to its distinct and pleasant aroma.

 

— Bronwyn Reynolds, Fizzin