Friday, August 14, 2009

Pitaya Flowers - and Dragonfruit

This is a pitaya flower. Earlier today it looked like a wide stalk of asparagus, and this evening it opened up into this:

I saw my first pitaya flower in June, and I posted these photos: Iguanas and Pitaya.
That flower AND its fruit bit the dust. Later another bloomed and it is now developing into a beautiful fruit. Tonight three more flowers opened up and the plant is looking quite healthy. I have high hopes for these new additions to the tropical fruit garden in the patio.

Pitaya is grown in Southeast Asia, Mexico, Central and South America and Israel and is known by several names. I knew it as dragonfruit in Hawaii but never tried it. It is also called pitahaya or strawberry pear. It is the fruit of the climbing cactus hylocereus undatus, and it tastes like a combination of a kiwi and a pear. Others describe its flavor as light and melon like. The fruit is best eaten when chilled, cut in half, scooping out and eating the seeds and flesh. It is also made into a pitaya refresco (blended with ice/water/sugar), which I am anxious to taste.

Dragonfruit is good for you! It is low in calories and high in nutrients like vitamin C, phosphorus, calcium, fiber and antioxidants. It has been said to lower glucose levels in type II diabetes sufferers.

Here is another post about it, and I hope the comments appear on this sure to read Merida Mikey's. Those seeds do require consideration for those with a certain health condition. I am just looking forward to trying it, and out of my own yard it will be so exciting. The truth is the cactus plant grows on the other side of my wall, but it is moving over to my side where its admirers are.

I have been trying to get good photos of the pitaya bloom since the first one appeared in June. Tonight I think I hit the mark on a few shots. I wish I could include the fragrant scent of the beautiful white flowers.

Nighttime magic!

After the flower drops off, this is the fruit. I can't wait to see how big and colorful this gets. Watch future posts for a full report on the harvest. It should be a short report with just 5 anticipated fruits!


Merida Mikey said...

Great post!

When the pitaya is ripe, let's have a "pitaya party"!!

Merida Mikey

Nancy said...

It looks a lot like a houseplant I had up north, you could snap off a section and plant it to make more...but it never flowered or made fruit.

I look forward to your further reports!

Linda Dorton said...

Let's hope they are edible! Will keep you up to date.

Mikey let's try pitaya cocktails of some sort. We can blend them and see if it blends the seeds, and throw in some vodka or something. And ice. pitaya smoothies.

Teresa said...

Aren't the flowers just lovely. I have a plant here and I did as you, took pictures along the way to ripening, I only had 2. Wouldn't you know it, someone stole them right off my plant! Enjoy yours!

Linda Dorton said...

Sounds like the work of an iguana to me! I'm wondering when to harvest the fruit (singular) before the big iguana that hangs out on the wall finds it.

Anonymous said...

The image of the iguana happily munching on your produce gives new meaning to "dragonfruit". I hope it ripens into one of the bright red fleshed ones that are coming onto the markets here lately (expensively, natch). But the red ones are delicious and will turn any fruit salad you make a gorgeous bright pink. I am not sure if you remember I had one of the plants in my yard, but the fellows who do my yard now hated it and they convinced me to let them take it out. It had the white fleshed fruits which were not as tasty and rarely bore fruit anyhow. I do miss the flowers. Aloha.

Anonymous said...

It turns out we are only getting one fruit. The other flowers and their potential fruit turned yellow and are about to fall off the plant. The pink one is looking very promising though.

Aloha, Anonymous, I wish I did remember the pitaya on your wall, but I don't know whose wall to try to remember....can you help?

Crazy Gone Native said...

That last post was from ME, now how did I get anonymous???

mcm said...

I'm surprised that your pitahaya has turned fully pink without anyone else eating it! Ours must be plucked as soon as the least bit of pink shows, and then brought inside to ripen fully (which they quickly do), or they'll be eaten by 1) birds 2) human passersby (those that extend over the wall are apparently considered fair game -- fair enough).
Sometimes I put a plastic grocery bag over them, to keep the birds away (the birds peck a small hole and eat the inside out -- as soon as the shell is breached, the whole thing turns bright pink).
I think this is not a great year for pitahaya....maybe too dry?