Melons – Watermelons, Cantaloupes, Squashes, Cucumbers, Pumpkins, Luffa, (and, Chayote): We have become accustomed to year-round availability of this summer and fall produce. Granted, winter Watermelons lack the sweet succulence of locally-grown summer produce, but I’m guessing the people who impale pieces of melon with sticks in order to make edible centerpieces are not as interested in fruit that is so ripe it collapses while mimicking a flower arrangement. But the Cucurbits (which is the common name for this plant family) range from sweet and fresh to solid and starchy – fruit that is eaten raw (and therefore alive) to flesh that is cooked and served, or pureed. And Cucurbits inform many native cuisines – Cucumbers were eaten in Ancient Egypt, Watermelons fed people throughout Tropical Africa, and Pumpkins as well as Acorn Squash were important crops for Native Americans.
Botanists have no problem with the Cucurbits; this is a solid “clade” in which all members are related. And in a market, they’d have little difficulty finding plenty of relatives to make a fine display.
Carpologists also find them an easy subject. Some might insist this is a Berry, but melons share many structural similarities (inferior ovary, fleshy fruit wall inside a rind, parietal placentation), so we utilize a separate term, Pepo, to describe their suite of characters. Carpologists will tell you that other fruit can be considered Pepos, such as Papaya and Passiflower, but that muddles the picture as far as I am concerned.