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Friday, 1 November 2013

Dragon fruit or Pitaya (Hylocereus)

Pitaya or dragon fruit (part genus Hylocereus) is a cactus plant that originated Mexico, Central America, and North America and are now spread all over the world. In the region of origin this plant named pitahaya dragon fruit or pitaya roja. Residents there often utilize this fruit to be served as fresh fruit consumption.

Although originating from North and Central America, dragon fruit became known as the plant from Asia; because this is precisely the dragon fruit has been cultivated on a large scale in several Asian countries, especially the countries of Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia. This plant was originally intended as an ornamental plant, because the triangular shape and spiny stems short and has a beautiful flower shaped like a funnel and started to bloom at dusk and will bloom at night.

Characteristic of the tree:

Dragon fruit plant is a climbing plant species. In their natural habitat, these plants live by climbing other plants and epiphytes are not a parasitic plant. In these plants, this plant morphologically is part of incomplete plant because it does not have leaves.

Root: Dragon fruit roots are epiphytes, vines and attached to other plants. In cultivation, made truss rod to knock the dragon fruit plants. The roots of dragon fruit is resistant to drought but cannot stand in a puddle of water for too long. Although the roots removed from the soil, the plant still can live, they can absorb food and water from the air routes that grow on the trunk.

Rooting system of Dragon fruit including shallow rooting, just before production only reached a depth of 50-60 cm, stems roots in the soil is brown. So that normal root growth and could well require a degree of acidity of the soil under ideal conditions, ie pH 7. If the soil pH is below 5, the growth will be slow and the plants become stunted.

Stems and Branches: dragon fruit stem color is bluish-green or purplish. The rod-shaped or triangular elbow, contain water in the form of mucus and encrusted candles when an adult. This stems growing from the branches together with the shape and color stems and leaves to serve as an assimilation process and containing cambium that has its function on plant growth. On the trunk and branches of this plant, grow hard and short spines. Spines located on the edge of the right-angled stems and branches; there are 4-5 spines on each point of grow.

Flowers, fruits and seeds:

Flowers: Flowers elongated funnel-shaped measuring about 30 cm and will start bloom in the afternoon and will be in full bloom at night. After bloom, color inner petals are pure white, yellow stamen inside there, and then will issue a fragrant smell.

Fruit: Fruit elliptic and usually located near the end of a branch or stem. The fruit can grow more than one at any branch or stem, sometimes grow near. Leather pieces about 1-2 cm thick on the surface of the skin and fruit are fins or tassels measuring about 2 cm. Known at this time there are two different skin colors are maroon and yellow. The pulp is white or red depending on the variety.

Seeds: small round and thin but very hard. Seeds can be used as a generative plant propagation, but this is rarely done because it takes a long time to produce. Seeds usually used by researchers to come up with new varieties. Each fruit contains about 1000 seeds.

Nutrient content:
Based on the research of Taiwan Food Industry Develop & Reearch Authorities, it is known that in 100 grams of dragon fruit sugar found some 13 to 18 briks, fiber or dietary fiber a number of 0.7 to 0.9 grams, beta-carotene between 0.005 to 0.012 grams, as much calcium 6.3 to 8.8 milligrams, water levels as much as 82.5 to 83.0 grams, protein with a number of 0.16 to 0.23 grams, fat as much as 0.21 to 0.61, phosphorus 30.2 to 36, 1 milligram, iron 0.55 to 0.65, a variety of vitamins such as B1 as much as 0.28 to 0.30 mg, vitamin B2 with the amount of 0,043 to 0,045 milligrams of vitamin C between 8 to 9 milligrams, niacin contents in the levels of 1,297 to 1,300 milligrams and many others.

Dragon fruit cultivation :

In general , the dragon fruit cultivated by cuttings or sowing seeds . Plants will thrive if planted porous media ( not muddy ) , rich in nutrients , sand , enough sunshine and temperatures between 38-40 ° C. 

If treatment is good enough, the plant will start bear fruit at the age of 11-17 months. Dragon fruit is very adaptive, can be cultivated in various daearah with altitude 0-1200 m asl. The most important thing is getting enough sunlight is a requirement of red dragon fruit growth.

Dragon fruit can be grown with soil conditions and altitude of any location, but the plant will be greedy enough nutrients, so if the soil contains fertilizer is good, then the growth will be good. Within 1 year, dragon fruit tree can reach a height of 3 feet.

Scientific classification:

  • Division      :  Spermatophyta (seed plants)
  • Subdivision :  Agiospermae (seed enclosed)
  • Class          :  Dicotyledonae (dashed two)
  • Order         :  Cactales
  • Family        :  Cactaceae
  • Subfamily   :  Hylocereanea
  • Genus        :  Hylocereus
  • Species: 
  1. Hylocereus undatus (white meat)
  2. Hylocereus polyrhizus (red meat)
  3. Hylocereus costaricensis (super red meat)
  4. Selenicereus megalanthus (yellow skin, without scales)