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Seed of the Week: Pitaya or Dragon Fruit

Our mystery seeds last week generated a lot of interest and several correct identifications. The fruit and seeds were indeed from a cactus called pitaya or dragon fruit, Hylocereus sp.

dragonfruit

The dragon fruit is bright red and green on the outside. The flesh inside may be purple-red like in last week's post,

dragon-fruit-cross-section

red, or even...

Pitaya_H-undatusor white like this Hylocereus undatus (Photograph by SMasters at Wikimedia). There are a number of different species and varieties that vary in size, shape and color.

dragonfruit-climbing

The plant itself is a slender, vine-like cactus.

dragon-fruit-branch

Eventually buds form on the stems.

H-Undatus-flower

When that happens, the pitaya plant produces large, lovely flowers that open at night (Photograph by Ulf Eliasson at Wikimedia). From the flowers come the fruit and seeds, starting the cycle over again.

Originally from South and Central America, pitaya or dragon fruit are now grown extensively throughout the world. Photographs of commercial plantations like these in Thailand and Vietnam, are available online

We got our plants from cuttings, but the plants do grow from seeds, as well. Just be aware that some of the varieties are hybrids and the seeds may not produce plants exactly the same as the parents.

Have you ever tasted a dragon fruit? How would you describe the flavor?

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