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What Is Dragon Fruit?

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  • Written By: Garry Crystal
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 09 September 2014
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The Pitaya is more commonly referred to as the dragon fruit. It is an extremely beautiful fruit that has dazzling flowers and an intense shape and color. The dragon fruit is usually a dark red color, although some types of this fruit are pink or yellow. The skin of the dragon fruit is a thin rind. The skin is usually covered in scales, and the center of the fruit is made up of a red or white, sweet tasting pulp.

It not known exactly where the dragon fruit originated, but it is thought to have come from South America. The French are believed to have brought the dragon fruit to Vietnam over a hundred years ago. Dragon fruits were grown there to be eaten by royalty and very wealthy families. Now, the fruit flourishes in American states such as Texas, and is also grown in Mexico and other South American countries such as Argentina and Peru.

The dragon fruit is cultivated in tropical regions around the world. The plant of the dragon fruit can grow from around a few inches or centimeters to up to twenty feet (around six meters). It flourishes in hot regions with a heavy rainfall. Periods of cold will kill the plant, and it loves the high temperatures found in tropical countries.

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The flowers of the dragon fruit plant only bloom at night and usually only live for one night. Pollination happens at this time to allow the fruit to emerge. The flowers of the dragon fruit give out a very beautiful scent, and the smell can fill the night air wherever the plant grows.

The dragon fruit is best eaten by cutting the fruit in half and scooping the flesh out. The flavor is very refreshing and sweet. Dragon fruits are delicious chilled and can be served in fruit juices and fruit salads or made into jam. They can also be juiced and added to alcohol to make a very delicious drink.

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Discuss this Article

anon325470
Post 62

It's too expensive. They claim this is because of the benefits. Well, if you can't afford to buy it on an ongoing basis, then tell me how beneficial is that? I think it's just greed. Oh, and if they grow them in the U.S., now why is it we never see the U.S.-grown dragon fruits in the market?

anon316852
Post 61

I think Dragon fruit looks like a type of cabbage on the outside, and vanilla ice cream with chocolate chips in the inside!

anon311139
Post 60

Yes you can plant Dragon Fruit seed and easily. Just dry them out for three days then plant, and you should see sprouts in as early as 10 days. The seedlings will be visible in about two or three weeks. Although it will take a long time for them to grow and mature and give fruit -- average three to four years.

anon308801
Post 58

The dragon fruit is high in vitamin C, phosphorus, calcium and fiber. It can grow in dry areas or Tropical regions. It is part of the cactus family.

anon198201
Post 54

We have a Dragon Fruit at home and it is wonderful.

anon196680
Post 53

This fruit is sold in the us--states like Texas and California and in Asian supermarkets.

anon161065
Post 52

I already planted a dragon fruit, I am so fascinated by this plant.

anon154590
Post 51

Dragon Fruit? We were not sure how it was going to taste like? so our boss let us try it but of course him first. to our surprise, a smile on his face said it all. believe me it tasted unreal and very very nice. There are some things you only try once but I would buy it again.

anon152368
Post 50

I purchased my first fruit at a great Asian market in Mesa, AZ. Beautiful as it is, eating it was not yummy. I believe it possesses nutritional benefits and I shall continue with it for a time. Most attractive fruit I have ever seen and hope that maybe I did not let it ripen enough.

anon144035
Post 48

why is the Dragon fruit not sold in wingham, Ontario, Canada?

anon112392
Post 47

It's very expensive here in philippines but it tastes good! I love it.

JCisDway
Post 45

What if any benefits do the Dragon Fruit leaves or cacti part of it have? For example, can it be used on the hair, skin etc.?

anon92115
Post 43

The easiest to grow is Hylocereus undatus. It requires loamy soil and leaf mould or commercial camellia/azalea mix can be substituted. It will grow well in places in USDA zone 10 and may grow well in zone 9. The drawback is that this species is an epiphytic cactus, meaning it needs to grow on a trellis or tree.

The cactus also needs several years to reach a size so it will bloom. I have had one for six years and it has yet to bloom due to the fact that I live in zone 7 and have to keep it in a pot. Unless you live in a subtropical or tropical zone, you really need a greenhouse to grow it.

anon81818
Post 41

what are the nutrients that are in the dragon fruit?

anon77657
Post 38

can it grow in africa?

anon77372
Post 37

I am Shalom living in India and I'm very interested in trying one dragon fruit. where can I get one from?

anon76578
Post 36

i had grown my red and white dragon fruit from cuttings. after almost two years I have what it seems like flower head bursting from the plant tip. Hope i can eat this after this long. Sure it is fun to grow papayas, but they are really fussy after fertilizers preferring organic types.

anon75939
Post 35

I would like to try one, but I couldn't find it around here! I am living in Yellowknife, North Canada.

anon74760
Post 34

tastes delicious!

anon70110
Post 33

Just wonder how long would a dragon fruit plant last, from new plant to end stage of the plant; where it comes yellow and dies?

Vincent9
Post 29

Vietnamese dragon fruit tastes good, looks good, is nutritious, and available year round.

I just wonder why big companies are not bringing this great fruit to Americans and people of the world like they did with bananas.

anon53907
Post 28

it's too expensive in israel! it's so delicious though!

anon51746
Post 27

Dragon fruit is a good fruit, good resource of vitamins, fibres and minerals, helps in boosting immunity and digestion also prevents rare diseases. I love this fruit. --Sari17

anon49942
Post 26

dragon fruit is cheap in south east asia though more expensive than the usual orange apple mango. At least the one i've tried with the deep pink flesh has a light floral sweet taste to it. Very nice!

anon48732
Post 25

I have not eaten my fruit yet. I hope i will like it how ever i am not crazy about kiwi by itself. It is good in a fruit salad and i feel this may be the case with this fruit. Does the plant look like a cactus. In one of the comments they said be careful. Why would that be? I have asthma it also said that it was good for breathing. Is this so?

anon44212
Post 24

i have read from a local magazine that dragon fruit contains high levels of vitamin c, calcium and phosphorus with high levels of antioxidants.

venurak
Post 23

what are the optimum physical and chemical soil conditions required for dragon fruit growth?

ilovefruits
Post 20

So the one thing your article (and others on the web) is not telling me "how do I know when the dragonfruit is ripe?" Should it feel like a peach, avocado, cantaloupe, or apple? Can I tell by a pleasant scent? How relevant is color to ripeness?

Moderator's reply: Check out: How Do I Choose the Best Dragon Fruit?

anon39318
Post 19

Can the dragon fruit be a dietary supplement?

anon39315
Post 18

I'm Barbara Kasey Smith, a college professor. On the year 2004, dietary supplements made up of Dragon Fruit emerges, which means that Dragon Fruit contains Fiber that causes it to reduce fat. I'm a biology major, and we all know that metabolism and obesity are closely related. I think aside from having the potential to reduce fat and help in weight-loss, maybe it can also be a metabolic enhancer. What do you think? Maybe it has proteins or vitamins that can perform the metabolic enhancement. If I were not mistaken (I studied this a long time ago, I hope I'm not forgetting this) vitamin B1 and B2 are the ones responsible in metabolism. Maybe this fruit contains the said vitamins. For those who feel that their metabolism is a bit slow, maybe you can try this fruit. There's no harm in trying anyway. thank you very much :)

anon28546
Post 17

asavella .. No, you can't propagate dragon fruit from seeds.

anon3166 ... I ate the fruits ever since I'm little and No, I'm not crazy or sick, well, maybe the flu, but that doesn't have anything to do with the fruits.. lol.. Also, you can only eat the flesh, the rinds you peel and throw away.

asavella
Post 16

Can we propagate dragon fruit from seeds?

anon28372
Post 15

We have purchased a couple of dragon fruit at Whole Foods in Miami. It is beautiful and tastes, to us, very much like kiwi. The only problem is that is incredibly expensive.

anon27735
Post 14

The Dragon fruit is grown from a orchid cactus generally called night blooming cereus. The blooms can be quite lavish ranging from 5-10". You can find them for sale from tropical plant growers. I am not sure if all types will produce Fruit. Hylocereus undatus seems to be the one, although I am not sure if Epiphyllum oxypentalum does or not. I have seen nothing about hybrids producing fruit.

Apparently the plants need to be older to fruit. Personally, I am going to try sprouting seeds from a fruit to get the type of plant I want instead of guessing which of the three types I would end up with.

You can find them occasionally at groceries that carry exotic foods.

anon18480
Post 13

Just to add that the flower of the Pitaya or Dragon Fruit is known as Bawang hua in Chinese. In Mainland China, the fresh flowers or dried ones are cooked with pork ribs as a soup. It is believed that the bawang hua has a 'cooling' effect (i.e. 'yin' food) on the body and is consumed during the hot months.

ShiraAnn
Post 12

We can tell when our dragon fruit is ripe because the bloom will fall off the very top and the fruit itself will usually turn red....except the yellow dragon. When the prickers fall off easily they are ripe. Some will twist off very easily.

anon15776
Post 10

Dragon fruit does NOT taste like ham, it is sweet. If you want to yield the greatest amount of fruits....think of how nature pollinates flowers. The Dragon fruit boosts the immune system, respiratory system and is physically full of natural fiber...so be careful hah

herby1618
Post 9

I am wanting to know where to buy the plant or seed for Dragon fruit, I live in the tropics (in australia)

anon10367
Post 8

what are the virus diseases in dragon fruits?

Diluk
Post 7

Please be kind enough to provide more information about the production and market of the " Dragon Fruit"

disanayake
Post 6

Does anyone have information or guidance of growing & selling Dragon fruit?

anon6670
Post 5

The Dragon fruit tastes very much like ham.

anon3166
Post 4

Can you eat the whole fruit and rind of the dragon fruit? I was told that it could make you crazy or sick. I know this sounds silly but this is a genuine question and look forward to your answer.

anon922
Post 3

I have a big dragon fruit vine. During the summer it blooms 4 or 5 times with 80 to 100 flowers each time, but I only get 4 or 5 fruits with each bloom. Can I increase my fruits by hand pollenating? And just exactly how do I hand pollenate?

Dayton
Post 2

@ anon608 - Dragon fruit is rich in vitamin C and antioxidants, and therefore are thought to have many important health benefits, including boosting immunity and preventing cancer.

anon608
Post 1

What are the health benefits of this fruit ?

Moderator's reply: Check out: What Are the Different Dragon Fruit Benefits?

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