Dragon fruit (Hylocereus undatus), also known as pitaya and pithaya, is an exotic fruit that is a member of the cactus family. Grown in the tropical and sub-tropical climates of the U.S., Central and South America, and Southeast Asia, the dragon fruit is increasingly exported throughout the world, according to the University of Oregon College of Health and Human Sciences. The fruit is primarily eaten fresh, according to the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, with frozen pulp used in juice, yogurt, ice cream and preserves.
The 'Alice' (Hylocereus undatus) variety of the dragon fruit is a medium-sized fruit with a semi-sweet flavor that weighs about 1/2 to 1 lb. The fruit has white pulp and a hot pink outer skin with green scales. Cross pollination is necessary to grow the 'Alice,' according to Pine Island Nursery, a Miami fruit nursery.
Medium in size and known for a grape and kiwi-like flavor, 'Cosmic Charlie' (hylocereus undatus) is a self pollinator. The flesh of the 'Cosmic Charlie' is a bright magenta color and the outer skin is pink with green scales. The University of Florida Extension says an average-sized 'Cosmic Charlie' dragon fruit weighs between 3/4 and 1 lb.
Considered a heavy producer and a good juicing fruit by Pine Island Nursery, the 'Red Jaina' (Hylocereus polyrhizus) cultivar has a deep pink skin with pink scales and a dark red pulp. The fruit is semi-sweet in flavor and weighs between 1/2 and 1 lb. 'Red Jaina' dragon fruit is not self pollinating.
The large- to medium-sized 'Seoul Kitchen' (Hylocereus undatus) has bright pink skin and light green scales. The white pulp of the 'Seoul Kitchen' dragon fruit is sweet and smooth in texture. According to the University of Florida Extension, the 'Seoul Kitchen' dragon fruit is a self-pollinating variety and will set fruit without hand pollination.
Pine Island Nursery notes that the 'Yellow Dragon' cultivar (Selenicereus megalanthus) is among the sweetest and tastiest of all varieties of the dragon fruit. 'Yellow Dragon' has thorns on the outer layer of the fruit, white pulp, bright yellow skin, and green-tinted scales. Each fruit weighs between 3/4 and 1 lb. The 'Yellow Dragon' is a self pollinator.
'Dark Star' (Hylocerus undatus) dragon fruit features attractive pink outer skin and long, skinny light green fin-like scales. 'Dark Star' fruit weighs 3/4 to 1 1/2 lbs. and has deep pink flesh. 'Dark Star' is a self pollinating and has a grape-like, semi-sweet flavor, according to the University of Florida Extension.
- University of Florida IFAS: The Pitaya in Florida
- Oregon State University College of Health and Human Sciences: Pithaya, Dragon Fruit, Pitaya
- University of Florida Extension: Pitaya Growing in the Florida Home Landscape
- Pine Island Nursery: Dragon Fruit Variety Viewer-'Alice'
- Pine Island Nursery: Dragon Fruit Variety Viewer-'Yellow Dragon'
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