Ex­otic dragon fruit easy to grow at home

Whanganui Chronicle - - 48 Hours/gardening - In­for­ma­tion: https:// www.thes­pruceeats.com/dragon-fruitoverview-nu­tri­tional-in­for­ma­tion3217090 , https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Hy­lo­cereus_un­da­tus

Dragon fruit, also known as pitaya or the straw­berry pear, is a lesser known fruit in New Zealand.

It is a beau­ti­ful trop­i­cal fruit, sweet and crunchy and it tastes a bit like a cross be­tween a ki­wifruit and a pear.

Un­usual look­ing, this ex­otic fruit is easy to cut and pre­pare. You can en­joy eat­ing it in fruit sal­ads, it can be used to cre­ate tasty drinks and desserts, and it is a won­der­ful, healthy snack on its own.

Dragon fruit is low in calo­ries and of­fers nu­mer­ous nu­tri­ents, in­clud­ing vi­ta­min C, phos­pho­rus, and cal­cium. It also sup­plies a good amount of fi­bre and an­tiox­i­dants.

Dragon fruit is grown in south­east Asia, Mex­ico, Cen­tral and South Amer­ica, and Is­rael. Be­com­ing more widely avail­able in NZ, the plant can be grown in the home gar­den in any hot, sunny and largely frost free sit­u­a­tion.

The dragon fruit plant is a cacti. The fruit that is pro­duced and con­sumed is the seed pod of the cacti grow­ing be­tween 150-600g in size, some­times up to 1kg.

For ease of har­vest the dragon fruit plant is best trained along a fence, or other sup­port, al­though it can be left to sprawl over the ground or over a bank.

In Hawaii, there is a fa­mous dragon fruit cac­tus hedge on a lava rock wall of the Pu­na­hou School in Honolulu. Planted in 1836, its ex­otic blos­soms still bloom dur­ing the closing sum­mer months with white flow­ers of­fer­ing a spec­tac­u­lar dis­play that sub­se­quently turn to fruit as the seed pods set. Sup­pos­edly all the dragon fruit in Hawaii came from the wall of Pu­na­hou School. Peo­ple used to come in the evenings from all over the is­land to see them bloom­ing and “bor­row” some cut­tings so that now they have this species all over the is­land.

Dragon fruit

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