Dragon fruit Hylocereus sp.
Uses of dragon fruit, Benefits of dragon fruit, Different species of dragon fruit, Propagation of dragon fruit
The scientific name of dragon fruit is Hylocereus sp . Dragon fruit belongs to the family Cactaceae.
Dragon fruit is commonly called as Noble Woman’ or ‘Queen of the Night’. The dragon fruit originated in Southeast Asia and Latin America, but it is now produced and consumed all around the world. Traditionally dragon fruit is grown in Thailand, Sri Lanka, Israel, and Vietnam, but it is currently being cultivated in India too.
Recently the Gujarat government in India has decided to rename Dragon Fruit as ‘Kamalam’ in India (source)
In India one can find dragon fruit grown in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Odisha, Telangana, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka as well as in the North Eastern states.
Uses of dragon fruit benefits
Dragon fruit is consumed as fresh fruit or used for the value addition of jams, fruit juice, ice creams, jelly, wine and face packs.
Dragon fruit benefits
Following are the dragon fruit benefits also called as the noble woman or queen of the night –
- Dragon fruit is rich in calories, proteins, fibre, iron, fat, carbohydrates, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, magnesium and good source of antioxidants.
- Dragon fruit helps against chronic disease like heart disease and cancer, good source of fibre by managing type 2 diabetes (source), reducing the risk of colon cancer and maintaining healthy body weight.
- Dragon fruits helps strengthens immune system, its ability to fight infection and prevent disease as it has vitamin C and carotenoids.
- The Fruit can also protect white blood cells from damage.
- It keeps a healthy gut and can balance good bacteria in the gut.
- Dragon fruit is rich in iron plays a vital role in transporting oxygen throughout the body and breaking the food into energy.
- Dragon fruit lowers cholesterol, preventing arthritis, improving heart health, fighting against ageing, preventing asthma and maintains the body weight.
Different species of Dragon fruit cultivated in the world
1. Hylocereus undatus:
Also called as Pitahaya, has white ﬂesh with pink skin with edible black seeds. It is prominent among types of dragon fruit cultivated.
Also called as Red Pitaya, has red ﬂesh with its pink skin, native to Mexico. Among the various types of dragon fruit varieties, this one is the most profitable.
Costa Rican Pitaya, native to Costa Rica with violet-red ﬂesh and pink skin, and its fruits are magenta, and the seeds are pear-shaped. This type is cultivated in India.
It’s native to South America of white ﬂesh with yellow skin. Among the other dragon fruit kinds, it has a lovely appearance
Propagation of Dragon fruit and spacing
Dragon fruit is propagated by cuttings of the stem. Cuttings of 20 cm height is used for planting in the field.
Dragon fruits are planted at spacings of 2 x 2 meters, 2.5 × 2 metres, 3 × 1.5 metres, 3 × 3 metres and 4 × 3 metres in India.
Flowering and pollination in dragon fruits
Dragon fruit Flowers are hermaphrodite. The flowering and fruiting of dragon fruits coincide with the monsoon season in India staggered from June to November and continues till December.
Nocturnal agents such as bats, moths and bees are the pollinators in dragon fruits.
Dragon fruit benefits from these natural pollinating agents hence protected cultivation must be done bearing these facts in mind.
Harvesting in Dragon fruit
Dragon fruit starts bearing in the first year onwards during August to December. In dragon fruit picking of fruits is done 6 times within this period. Dragon fruit becomes ready for harvesting in one month after ﬂowering. The maturity index of dragon fruit is colour breaking stage from bright green colour to red colour.
Harvesting time of dragon fruit in India
Exact time of harvesting in dragon fruit is 3 to 4 days after colour change for local market but in case of long distance transport/export, the fruits are harvested when the colour break is noticed.
Yield of Dragon fruit
In a single pole having 4 plants yields about 10 kgs from second year onwards. The production of fruits per acre in India during: Second year – 5 to 6 tonnes, Third year – 10 to 12 tonnes and Fourth year onwards – 15 tonnes.
Price of dragon fruit in Indian market
Dragon fruit price per kilogram in India is approximately Rs.150 to 250.
From the above article one can find that dragon fruit benefits are very high compared to other common tropical fruits like banana, mango etc and the cultivation of dragon fruits must be promoted by the government. Naming dragon fruit as Kamala is one of the steps that has been taken by Indian government in this regard. Our list of dragon fruit benefits are not complete as more research needs to be done in dragon fruit composition and application its adaptability and diversity to varying climates and temperatures.
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Is dragon fruit good for diabetes
Dragon fruits are a good source of fibre and it helps in fighting against diseases especially like type 2 diabetes
How to eat the dragon fruit
One can cut the dragon fruit in half by using a sharp knife to slice right through it. You will get equal halves of dragon fruit with white color skin with tiny black seeds like that of a kiwi fruit distributed throughout the fruit. Now share with your friends and enjoy
What is dragon fruit called in India ?
Recently the Indian government has decided to rename the Dragon Fruit as ‘Kamalam’ in India