A red pitaya (Hylocereus undatus) fruit, also known as dragonfruit, together with a cross section.
Dragon Fruits or Pitaya’s originated in South America, it wasn’t until the French took them to Vietnam where they were marketed under the name Dragon Fruit. Since then they have spread too many countries including Australia.
It is currently the number two export income earner for Vietnam.
Being a cacti they have far less water and fertilizer requirements than most other crops, therefore growers overheads are much lower.
Dragon fruit or Pitaya plants are a member of the cactus family but being an epiphytic or vine type they can have stems up to 7 meters in length. They are quite often seen climbing their way happily up the nearest tree.
The flower buds can appear as early as October and flowering will continually right through to May, with the main flowering happening in early January. The flowers are white, 30cm long and are open for only one night. They begin to burst open as early as 4pm and by 9pm have reached their full beauty.
They have a translucency about them and almost seem to glow in the moon light. After one night of glory they start to close with the sun’s rays upon them, but not before the bee’s have had the most incredible feast. On cloudy days they stay open till about 10am.
They have at least seven flushes of buds in one season which is great for the home gardener because they have fresh fruit for six months of the year. It is not uncommon to have small buds, large flower buds nearly ready to open, green fruit and fruit ready to pick on the one plant.
This compound is believed to act as a heart tonic but the most important thing is the wonderful taste, it tastes a little bit like a passion fruit.
The red pitaya (Hylocereus polyrhizus) taste has a hint of raspberries and its blood red flesh has been used to treat anemia. The white pitaya (Hylocereus undatus) has a taste between kiwi fruit and watermelon and the amazing look of the fruit with its hot pink skin and white flesh it is truly a gourmet’s delight.
They are wonderful chilled and eaten with ice-cream or fresh out of hand just like a kiwi fruit, they are used to flavor drinks, jams and pastries.
They freeze well and make the most wonderful sorbets,they are packed with vitamin C and high in antioxidants.
Go visit Red Fox Pitaya’s Dragon Fruit Farm in Nanango QLD and see these amazing vine-like cacti.
If visiting from January to May you will be able to see the unique fruit being produced.
27 Calvert Rd, East Nanango
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