Scientific Name: Hylocereus undatus
Other Names: Pitahaya, Night Blooming Cereus, Strawberry Pear, Belle of the Night, Cinderella Plant, Jesus in the Cradle
Description: Dragon Fruit looks like a cactus that climbs, sprawls, and branches profusely. They climb by attaching themselves using aerial roots to whatever structure is nearby. The flowers only bloom at night and only once per flower. The plants can have between four and six fruiting cycles per year.
The fruit’s texture is sometimes likened to that of the kiwifruit because of its black, crunchy seeds. The flesh is mildly sweet and low in calories. The seeds have a nutty taste and are rich in lipids. Dragon fruit is also used to flavor (and color) juices and alcoholic beverages, such as “Dragon’s Blood Punch” and the “Dragotini”. The flowers can be eaten or steeped as tea.
Permaculture Uses: Fruit is edible and reputedly improves eyesight and controls hypertension, while the seeds supposedly help in controlling blood glucose levels in people with non-insulin-dependent hypoglycemic conditions.
Propagation: Seeds, cuttings.
Pollination: Requires cross pollination to fruit.
Local Challenges: None noted.
Red, White, Purple: Plants are similar but the inside of the fruits are different color.