(Hylocereus undatus – Family Cactaceae)
Dragon Fruit, pitihaya/pitaya/pitahaya, red pitahaya, night blooming cereus, strawberry pear, Belle of the Night, conderella plant
cierge-lézard/poire de chardon (French), Distelbirn/Echte Stachelbirn/Drachenfrucht (German), skogskaktus/röd pitahaya (Swedish), Pa-nani-o-ka (Hawaii), cato-barse/cardo-ananaz (Portuguese), pitahaya roja/blanca (Colombia/Mexico/Venezuela), flor de caliz/pitajava (Puerto Rico), junco/junco tapatio/pitahaya orejona/reina de la noche/tasajo (Mexico), pitahaya de cardó
The Hylocereus and Selenicereus species of cacti occur roughly from Mexico and Texas to Peru and Argentina.
The Hylocereus species have been commercially cultivated in the Americas and in Vietnam.
Various types of columnar and climbing cacti bear fruits that are referred to as pitaya; but, generally, the fruit comes in yellow and pink versions.
Pink dragon fruit are large, fuschia-colored, and about four inches long. They are covered with pointed green-tipped scales, much like the leaves of a globe artichoke. Inside, however, they are a spectacular sight.
The translucent pearly-white flesh is dotted with a mass of edible black seeds, which add an appealing crunch, much like that of kiwi fruit. The taste is sweet, with a slightly acidic melon-like flavour.
Yellow dragon fruits look more like prickly pears or mini-pineapples, but the taste is the same as the pink variety.
Yellow dragon fruit are ripe when golden all over, but both varieties should yield when gently squeezed. They are best eaten when ripe and cold, with a little lemon to enhance their flavour. When the flesh is scooped out, the shells can be used as serving dishes. Ripened fruits can be refrigerated for up to three days.