The Latin American origins of this lovely exotic fruit is where the term pitaya or pitahaya, which are equivalent, originates. It comes from Central America (dating back to the 13th century). However, it found its way to Malaysia and Vietnam, where it is now widely grown (perhaps as a result of its appeal to Asian customers). According to what we’ve heard, the Vietnamese term “thang loy,” which means “dragon fruit,” somehow translates into English. While Vietnamese producers refer to their fruit as “dragon fruit,” those in Israel, where the fruit is grown professionally and sold into the United States, prefer to call it “pitaya or “pitahaya.
Therefore, they are essentially the same fruit whether you see them labeled pitayas, pitahayas, or dragon fruits. They’re probably beginning to appear everywhere now. It doesn’t matter if it’s fresh in the fruit section of your grocery store, in your favorite juice shop, or even as an air freshener’s aroma.
Dragon fruit also comes in a variety of interior colors:
You may also recall seeing some lovely fruit from Israel earlier this year that was marked “Pitaya” or “Pitahaya.”
The high levels of fiber and vitamin C in most dragon fruit are the only thing they have in common in terms of nutrition. However, the flavor characteristic of each fruit can vary. The white-fleshed fruit from Vietnam has a beautiful exterior but a bland, unremarkable flavor. In contrast, Nicaraguan fruit has dark-purple crimson flesh that is similar to a sweet, juicy, meaty watermelon.
The cactus pear is actually related to dragon fruit. In contrast to cactus pear seeds, which are crunchy like those in passion fruit, the seeds of the dragon fruit are fully soft and edible (much like those of a kiwifruit). Additionally, the dragon fruit lacks thorns on its skin, in contrast to the cactus pear.
Therefore, the next time you pass a large display of tropical fruits in your produce area, don’t be hesitant to buy one and give it a try. Due to their limited shelf life, it is preferable to bring home some dragon fruit and use them in a fruit salad or smoothie that same day or the following.
From what kind of cactus does a dragon fruit originate?
Originally from Central and South America, the Hylocereus is a vine-like cactus that is now widely grown throughout Southeast Asia for its tasty, vivid pink pitaya, often known as dragon fruit.
Is dragon fruit a succulent or a cactus?
Pitaya, another name for the dragon fruit cactus, is a climbing cactus with long, flattened leaves and brightly colored fruits that appear after the plant blooms.
Where does dragon fruit originate?
Originating in Central and South America, dragon fruit. Although we refer to this intriguing plant as a fruit, it is actually a cactus. Currently, dragon fruit is grown in Israel, Mexico, Central America, Asia, and the Americas.
Can dragon fruit seeds become cactus plants?
The vibrant colors of a dragon fruit are difficult to miss in the produce section of a supermarket store, whether they are magenta and green or bright yellow. The fruit has a delicate, subtle flavor, and the numerous tiny, black seeds offer a delightful crunch. This unique fruit is produced by an equally strange plant, a Central American native tropical cactus.
If dragon fruit has caught your attention, you can easily produce your own dragon fruit plant from the tiny seeds that are dispersed throughout its flesh. Although plants cultivated in containers can take up to two years to develop fruit, they can start flowering as soon as six to eight months after planting. The good news is that a mature plant can produce four to six fruiting cycles year and can continue to produce fruit for 20 to 30 years.
Is a cactus a passion fruit?
The vine-type passion flower Passiflora edulis, sometimes known as passion fruit, is indigenous to southern Brazil, northern Argentina, and Paraguay.
 For its delicious, seedy fruit, it is commercially grown in tropical and subtropical regions. The fruit is a pepo, a sort of berry, and is round to oval in shape. When fully grown, it can be either yellow or dark purple, with a soft to firm, juicy inside that is packed with many seeds. The fruit is consumed whole and juiced, with the juice frequently being mixed with other fruit juices to add flavor.
What kind of plant produces dragon fruit?
Dragon fruit are tasty fruits that grow on Hylocereus and Selenecereus cactus plants. The term “dragon fruit” will be used throughout this profile to refer to fruits from those genera (“Other64: Pitahaya Research – UCANR, n.d.). Other names for dragon fruit include pitaya, pitahaya, and strawberry pears (Lobo et al, 2013). From the genus Stenocereus, a different cacti fruit with the same popular name as pitaya can be found. Stenocereus fruits resemble dragon fruit in appearance, but they are rounder and taste sourer (Shelton, 2014).
Mexico, Central America, and South America are the original home of dragon fruit (Crane & Balerdi, n.d.). Although many Hylocereus species have been identified, accurate identification remains a challenge. Hylocereus undatus, which produces fruit with brilliant pink skin and white flesh, and Hylocereus sp., which produces fruit with bright pink skin and various shades of pink flesh, are the two principal species raised for commercial production. Both come in a variety of forms. Another dragon fruit produced for commercial purposes is Selenecereus megalanthus, which produces fruit with white meat and yellow peel (Lobo et al, 2013). All dragon fruits have edible, small, black seeds that resemble kiwi seeds in appearance. Dragon fruit has a texture like to that of a kiwi or a watermelon and a pleasantly sweet flavor with hints of earthiness. It is considered that cultivars with darker pink flesh offer the best flavor (McEachran, 2015). Dragon fruit are oval in shape and around the size of a baseball.
Commercial dragon fruit cultivation only occurs in California (particularly Southern California), Florida, and Hawaii (Lobo et al, 2013).
The primary season for fresh dragon fruit is the summer (June through September). For the majority of species, August and September are their busiest months; however, some Selenecereus megalanthus varieties may bear fruit from November through February (Lobo et al, 2015).
Dragon fruit is mostly farmed for the fresh market and is frequently sold at farmers’ markets and specialized shops. Farmers markets allowed growers to sell their dragon fruit in 2011 for between $7 and $8 per pound (Dawson, 2011).
The fruit has a great chance of being turned into a variety of goods, adding value. Energy and fruit bars, ice cream, jam, marmalade and preserves, juice, pastries, pulp, and yogurt are some of these processed goods. Unopened flower buds can be cooked and eaten as a vegetable, and the juice of the red kinds can also be used as a natural food colorant and dye (Crane & Balerdi, n.d). (Lobo et al, 2013).
In comparison, the wholesale cost of 10 pounds of organic red dragon fruit cultivated in California and sent to Los Angeles in August 2014 was $57.50. In August 2014, traditional red dragon fruit was imported to Los Angeles from Nicaragua and Vietnam, priced between $23.50 and $33. (Lobo et al, 2013).
Because there is a gap between demand and availability for dragon fruit in the United States, American farmers have the chance to cultivate the fruit commercially on a greater scale and address that market need (Hardesty, 2015).
Agritourism is another way to add value when growing a crop like dragon fruit. According to the University of California Cooperative Extension, “Agricultural tourism is a commercial enterprise at a working farm or ranch conducted for the enjoyment and education of visitors, and that generates supplemental income for the owner or operator (“Agritourism – UCCE, 2016).
The University of California’s Agriculture and Natural Resources Division most recently reported in a 2013 PowerPoint that California grows 100 to 200 acres of dragon fruit, Hawaii grows about 200 acres, and Florida grows more than 400 acres (Lobo et al, 2013).
Dragon fruit is also grown commercially in a large number of other nations, such as Nicaragua (the top Central American producer of Hylocereus sp. ), Colombia (the top South American producer of Selenecereus megalanthus), Ecuador (the top producer of both Hylocereus sp. and Selenecereus megalanthus), Vietnam (the top Southeast Asian producer of Hylocereus undatus), Thailand, Malaysia, and Israel (Lobo et al, 2013).
Exports/Imports/United States Consumption
Fresh dragon fruit is mostly the white-fleshed cultivars that are imported to the United States from Southeast Asia (most notably Vietnam) (Lobo et al, 2013).
Since dragon fruit is a recently developing fruit crop, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service and Foreign Agricultural Service do not yet have any export, import, or per capita consumption data for the United States (“Fruit and Tree Nut Data – ERS, 2021).
California had been experiencing a severe drought for four years as of 2016. This had made it more difficult for the state to produce some crops (Ross, 2021). Because dragon fruit trees can tolerate dryness well, they are being produced in some locations to take the place of conventional crops like citrus and avocados (McClurg, 2015). Dragon fruit need between 25 and 50 inches of water per year, and excessive watering needs to be avoided to prevent fruit rot and bloom drop.
Commercial orchards need to support the dragon fruit trees with some sort of trellising because they are regarded as climbing cactus plants. After one year of growth, dragon fruit trees can start to bear fruit, and they can continue to produce for about 30 years (Harrington, n.d. 2018).
The needs for pollination when starting a dragon fruit orchard are another significant consideration. Although many cultivars self-pollinate, some are self-incompatible and require cross-pollination to produce fruit (Crane & Balerdi, n.d.).
Do kiwi and dragon fruit have any kinship?
The flavor of dragon fruit has been described as “tropical,” being sweet and delicate. It has been compared to a hybrid of the kiwi and pear or the watermelon. Like kiwifruit, the texture is fairly creamy and contains tiny seeds.
Dragon fruit naturally grows where?
A pitaya (/pta./) or pitahaya (/ptha./) is the fruit of a variety of native American cactus species.
Pitahaya or dragon fruit refers to fruit of the genus Selenicereus (formerly Hylocereus), whereas pitaya typically refers to fruit of the genus Stenocereus, both belonging to the family Cactaceae. The world’s tropical and subtropical regions, including Peru, Mexico, South Asia, Southeast Asia, East Asia, the Caribbean, Australia, Mesoamerica, and the United States, all support the cultivation of dragon fruit.
The cactus that doesn’t bite.
Don’t be alarmed by the name! This sturdy cactus has fragrant white and yellow blossoms and is an ideal low-maintenance houseplant with a strong desire to expand (and is soft to the touch). For the dragon fruit to reach its full potential, you might want to repot it as its stems spread outward.
What is dragon fruit and where does it grow?
It is a fruit that grows on a species of cactus that is regarded as a climbing vine. It genuinely belongs to the Cactaceae family of plants’ Hylocereus genus. Although it is grown throughout Southeast Asia, Florida, the Caribbean, Australia, and other places with tropical and subtropical climates, dragon fruit is said to be an indigenous fruit of America.
How long does it take for a dragon fruit to grow and produce fruits?
The projected period for fruit production is a little longer for dragon fruit plants that were grown from seeds as opposed to plants that were developed from stem cuttings. A plant needs around a year to develop and start producing fruit on average. Some plants begin bearing fruit five months after they are planted.
What is the life span of the dragon fruit plant and how tall does this plant grow?
This plant is thought to be a perennial with a lengthy lifespan. The dragon fruit plant can continue to produce fruit for 20 to 30 years. The plant can reach a height of 40 feet before the end of its life cycle, and its stems can reach a maximum length of 6 meters.
How do you grow dragon fruit and is it possible to grow it indoors?
Here are a few easy steps that can be used to produce dragon fruit plants:
- First, choose or prepare the environment for growing dragon fruits.
- Get the cuttings from a healthy plant or the seeds from a reputable nursery.
- Select a location for planting, such as a garden or container. If containers are used, they should have a minimum 10 inch depth and a diameter of 15 to 24 inches.
- Put some rocks in the bottom of the pot or container to prepare it, then cover them with soil that drains well. A rod or trellis should be used to secure the pot in the center.
- For planting the seeds or cuttings in a rain-fed region where the plant is being grown on the ground, mounds should be made so that water can quickly drain away in the event of an excessive downpour.
- Before planting, let the cutting dry.
- Plant them where there is sufficient sunshine for the plant.
- Plant cuttings from the nursery box in the main area should be properly changed; if seeds are being used, scatter them in the container and cover them with fine dirt.
- Because the plant is a light feeder and a slow-release low-nitrogen fertilizer must be applied once every two months, fertilize it occasionally.
- Only water the plants when they are completely dry, and if they have begun to climb the center pole, care should be made to keep it moist.
- The plant needs around two years to fully develop and establish itself.
- To promote more flowers, prune the plant.
- The best time to harvest the fruit is in the late summer or early fall.
How is the dragon fruit harvested?
The optimal period to harvest is between June and December, but this can change according on the nation where the fruit is grown. Selecting fruits for harvest should only be done when they are fully ripe, which can be done twice a week. To pick the fruit without damaging it, pruning blades are employed. Before being packed or moved to larger storage spaces, the fruits are initially kept in a shaded area.
What climate does dragon fruit grow in?
It is thought that this cactus plant is distinct from other plants with desert origins. In regions with sufficient annual rainfall between 1730 and 2540 mm, dragon fruit can be found. The plants need a minimum temperature of 20 to 30 C. Most of the plant’s cultivation takes place in tropical and subtropical climes.
What season is suitable for growing dragon fruits?
Typically, the plant is grown during the summer (summer). The plant grows slowly the rest of the year, but from July to October it blooms. Five months out of every year, the dragon fruit plant produces fruit.