Anthracnose disease caused by Colletotrichum devastates many plants. Despite the importance of the disease, the mechanisms of resistance against it are poorly understood. Here, we identified a non-synonymous single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) located in a leucine-rich repeat domain as a marker for resistance to anthracnose race 1 in watermelon, using a combination of genetic analyses. We validated this SNP in segregating populations and 59 watermelon accessions using high-resolution melting assays and Sanger sequencing. We demonstrated that the resulting arginine-to-lysine substitution is particularly conserved among the Cucurbitaceae and Fabaceae. We identified a conserved motif, IxxLPxSxxxLYNLQTLxL, found in 1007 orthologues/paralogues from 89 plant species, and discovered that residue 18 of this motif could determine resistance to disease caused by external invaders. This study provides a step forward in understanding anthracnose resistance in watermelon, as well as functional and evolutionary insight into leucine-rich repeat proteins.