Dragonfruit

Botanical Name: Hylocereus undatus
Family: Cactaceae
Subfamily: Cactoideae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Caryophyllales
Genus: Hylocereus
Species: H. undatus

Common names:
English: pitahaya, dragon fruit, night blooming cereus, strawberry pear, Belle of the Night, Cinderella plant, Jesus in the cradle
Estonian: maasik-metskaktus
Finnish: pitaija, lohikäärmehedelmä
French: pitaya, fruit du dragon, cierge-lézard, poire de chardon
German: Drachenfrucht, Distelbirne
Greek: ?????? ??? ?????? (fruto tu draku)
Hawaiian: panini-o-ka-puna-hou (“Punahou cactus”) – a famous specimen still grows at Punahou School
Japanese: pitaya (???), dragon fruit (????????),
Portuguese: pitaia, cato-barse, cardo-ananaz, rainha da noite
Spanish: pitahaya roja (Costa Rica, Colombia, Mexico, Venezuela); flor de caliz, pitajava (Puerto Rico); junco, junco tapatio, pitahaya orejona, reina de la noche, tasajo (Mexico)
Swedish: skogskaktus, röd pitahaya
Vietnamese: thanh long
Thai:kaeo mangkon
Malay: buah naga. pronounce:boo-ah naa-gaa
Chinese: pinyin: hu?lónggu?
Italian: Pitahaya, Frutto del Drago
Bengali: Dragon fal.
Lithuanian: kertuotis

Habitat :
The native origin of Dragonfruit has never been resolved.It is lithophytic or hemiepiphytic. It is widely distributed through the tropics in cultivation. Like all true cacti, the genus originates in the Americas, the precise origin of the dragogfruit may be a hybrid.

Description:
Dragonfruit is a sprawling or vining, terrestrial or epiphytic cactus. They climb by use of aerial roots and can reach a height 10 meters or more growing on rocks and trees. The genus is very variable and closely related to Selenicereus.
The stems are scandent (climbing habit), creeping, sprawling or clambering, and branch profusely. There can be 4-7 of them, between 5 and 10 m or longer, with joints from 30–120 cm or longer, and 10–12 cm thick; with generally three ribs; margins are corneous (horn-like) with age, and undulate.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Areoles, that is, the small area bearing spines or hairs on a cactus, are 2 mm across with internodes 1–4 cm. Spines on the adult branches are 1-3, 2–4 mm long, being acicular (needle-like) to almost conical, and grayish brown to black in colour and spreading, with a deep green epidermis.

The scented, nocturnal flowers are 25–30 cm long, 15–17 cm wide with the pericarpel 2.5–5 cm long, about 2.5 cm thick, bracteoles ovate, acute, to 2.5 to less than 4 cm long; receptacle about 3 cm thick, bracteoles are linear-lanceolate, 3–8 cm long; outer tepals lanceolate-linear to linear, acuminate (tapering to a point), being 10–15 cm long, 10–15 mm wide and mucronate (ending in a short sharp point). Their colour is greenish-yellow or whitish, rarely rose-tinged; inner tepals are lanceolate (tapering to a point at the tip) to oblanceolate (i.e. more pointed at the base), up to 10–15 cm long about 40 mm wide at widest point, and mucronate, unbroken, sharp to acuminate (pointed), and white. Stamens 5–10 cm long, are declinate, inserted in one continuous zone from throat to 35 mm above the pericarpel and cream. The style (bearing the stigma) to 17, they are 5-24.5 cm long, stout, 6–8 mm thick, cream, and up to 26 stigma lobes, they can be whole or sometimes split at the top, cream, about 25 mm long. Nectar chambers are 30 mm long.

The fruit is oblong to oval, 6–12 cm long, 4–9 cm thick, red with large bracteoles, with white pulp and edible black seeds….CLICK & SEE

Health Benefits :
Some studies have already been conducted to determine if dragon fruit plays a role in improving overall health and well-being. One example is a 2011 study from the Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention, where researchers assessed the relationship between a healthy diet containing fruits and vegetables, lifetime physical activity and oxidative DNA damage linked to prostate cancer .

Dragon fruit contains a surprising number of phytonutrients.6 It is also loaded with antioxidants,7 and is home to carotene, protein, vitamin C (said to be near 10 percent of the daily recommended value), polyunsaturated (good) fatty acids and B vitamins that may be needed for carbohydrate metabolism .8,9 In addition, this tropical fruit doesn’t contain complex carbohydrates, which may allow vitamin B1 (thiamin) along with other B vitamins in the body to break down food more easily in the body.10

The dragon fruit is also a source of other nutrients like calcium that may help develop strong bones and teeth, iron that may assist in forming healthy red blood cells, and phosphorus to aid in promoting tissue and cell growth, maintenance and repair.11,12

A phytochemical called captin is present in dragon fruit too. It is typically used in medicines that may help alleviate heart problems. Other known benefits of dragon fruit include boosting the immune system, promoting quicker recovery from wounds and bruises, and reducing the risk for respiratory problems.13

Eating dragon fruit may also help the body maintain its normal function by helping eliminate toxic heavy metals14 and improving eyesight.15 Lycopene, responsible for the fruit’s red color ,16 has been linked with a lower prostate cancer risk.17 Meanwhile,

seed extracts from dragon fruit are high in polyunsaturated fats (omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids)18 that may help reduce triglyceride levels19 and lower the risk of cardiovascular disorders.20 In some cases, oil derived from the seeds may serve as a mild laxative too.21

Caution:
Make sure to consume dragon fruit in moderation because it contains fructose, a type of sugar that may be harmful to your health if consumed in excessive amounts.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hylocereus_undatus
https://foodfacts.mercola.com/dragon-fruit.html

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