Skip to Content

Is watermelon a pink color?

Watermelon is often described as having a pink flesh. However, the actual color of a watermelon’s interior can range from deep red to pale pink depending on the variety. While pink is commonly used to describe the interior color, watermelon’s hue is not technically considered a pink according to color theory. So is watermelon really pink?

The Origin of Watermelon’s Color

The pink or red color of a watermelon comes from lycopene, a red carotenoid pigment. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that gives tomatoes, pink grapefruits, and other fruits their distinct reddish hues. Watermelon contains high levels of lycopene in its flesh, especially in the centerheart. The concentration of lycopene determines the shade of red or pink.

During its ripening process, the chlorophyll that gives watermelon flesh its green color breaks down. Simultaneously, lycopene levels increase. The higher the lycopene concentration, the redder the interior flesh becomes.

Therefore, a fully ripened watermelon with high lycopene levels will have a deep red interior. If harvested earlier, it may have lower lycopene concentrations and appear more pinkish. The variety of watermelon also affects lycopene levels and thus color.

Watermelon Color Variations

There are over 1,200 varieties of watermelon. While all contain some level of lycopene, concentrations vary significantly.

Sweet, dessert watermelons like Jubilee, Crimson Sweet, and Charleston Grey have very high lycopene levels and deep red flesh. Other everyday types like Picnic, Sangria, and Mini Love are also known for their red color.

In contrast, seedless varieties like Dynasty, Revolution, and Sweet Sensation tend to be paler pink inside. Their texture is also crisper like an apple, while traditional watermelons are juicier.

Yellow and orange fleshed watermelon varieties have lower lycopene. For example, Tendersweet oranges have high beta-carotene instead of lycopene. Moon and Stars watermelons have striking variegated rinds and pale yellow flesh.

The exterior rind can also hint at interior color. Watermelons with deep red, crimson, or blushed rinds typically have a redder interior than green-skinned melons.

How Pink is Watermelon Compared to Pure Pink?

When examining watermelon’s color through the lens of chromatics and color theory, it differs from pure pink. Let’s take a look at how pink and red are defined scientifically.

On the color wheel, red sits opposite green. Pink lies between them, created by blending white with red. In print and digital design, pure pink is considered a tertiary color with its own hue.

Pigment mixing theories define pink as any hue between red and white. By light mixing, pink occurs partway between red and blue-violet wavelengths before reaching white.

So while watermelon’s flesh can certainly look pinkish, its dominant hue from lycopene is still red. Melons with higher lycopene will appear more red, while those with lower concentrations look more pink.

Compared to pure pink pigments, watermelon has much more of a reddish quality. Its hues are more similar to light or medium red paint swatches than pink ones.

Watermelon’s RGB and Hex Color Values

We can examine watermelon’s color more objectively by looking at its RGB values. These refer to the levels of red, green, and blue light needed to create a certain color.

The RGB values for light red are (255, 182, 193) while pink is (255, 192, 203). Dark red is (139, 0, 0).

Based on these values, light pink has higher green and blue components than light red. Dark red has no green or blue at all.

So what are watermelon’s RGB values? Its hex code is #FA6E75, with an RGB of (250, 110, 117). As you can see, watermelon’s color is predominantly composed of high levels of red with small amounts of green and blue.

This places it close to light red in color space. It differs more from pink, which has greater green and blue light components.

Watermelon Flesh Under a Microscope

We can examine watermelon’s color at an even more microscopic level by looking at its chemical absorbance. When light hits an object, certain wavelengths are absorbed while others are reflected back to our eyes.

This absorbance spectrum helps identify the precise chemical composition responsible for color. Research on watermelon flesh found its highest absorbance between 500-520 nm wavelengths.

This range corresponds closest to red light on the electromagnetic spectrum. Green and blue wavelengths had significantly lower absorbance.

The high red absorbance is again due to lycopene, while small amounts of other red/yellow plant pigments contribute to watermelon’s exact hue.

Psychological Perceptions of Watermelon’s Color

Why does watermelon so often get described as pink if its technical color leans more red? It likely comes down to psychological perceptions.

While red and pink are distinct hues, we tend to group reddish colors together in our minds. The terms get used interchangeably in everyday descriptions.

For instance, even though salmon and coral have different technical colors, most people would still call them shades of pink. Watermelon elicits a similar mental association with pink.

Our brains tend to categorize similar colors together, which leads to broader color terminology. So while watermelon contains enough red wavelengths to differ from pure pink, its light pinkish look still gets lumped into the pink category.

Impact on Other Senses

Does watermelon’s specific shade of red vs pink impact our senses in any way? Potentially yes.

Studies show colors can influence how we perceive flavors. In one experiment, participants perceived strawberry mousse as sweeter when served on pink spoons rather than white.

Research also suggests red and pink can elicit distinct responses. Red may increase flavors like sweetness and sourness compared to pink.

Since watermelon’s hue leans slightly more red than pink, its color could intensify its sweetness and fruitiness. If it were a true pink, those flavors might seem more subtle.

Further research is needed, but it’s possible watermelon’s reddish color helps make it taste juicier and more vibrant.

Watermelon Color Summary

So in summary, while watermelon flesh is often described as pink, scientifically its color results more from red pigments than a true pink hue.

The red comes from lycopene, while lower green and blue components lend it a light pink look. But compared to pure pink light, watermelon has higher red wavelengths.

Psychology and color terms lead us to call watermelon pink, even if technically it’s closer to red. Its hue likely enhances its sweet, fruity taste too.

So is watermelon pink? Not quite, but its light red appearance leads our brains to simply call it pink!


While watermelon’s flesh is commonly referred to as pink, examining its color on a deeper level reveals it is not technically a true pink. The distinctive hue comes from the pigment lycopene, a red carotenoid. Based on RGB values, absorbance spectra, and color mixing theories, watermelon aligns more closely with shades of red than pink. However, its lighter appearance leads our brains to associate it with pink. Watermelon’s reddish-pink color likely impacts its sweet, fruity taste as well. So in summary, watermelon is not purely pink despite that being a popular descriptor – its technical color skews more towards red.