The dragon fruit / pitaya plant is a climbing cactus vine that grows well in dry areas. Because of its epiphytic nature, it grows best in soil with a high level of organic materials. The flowers are white and large sometimes measuring 30cm and larger. They are ornate and produce a sweet fragrance when in bloom. The flowers bloom for one night only. Dragon fruits are also called cactus fruits. They are closely related to the orchid cacti or epiphyllum. Epiphyllums are known for their large and impressive flowers. The fruit is popularly eaten raw and tastes better chilled. It is also served as a juice. The flesh is sweet and sometimes served with mango in a tropical sorbet. Dragon fruits reputedly improve eyesight and prevent hypertension. The seeds of the fruit supposed help in controlling blood glucose levels in people with non-insulin-dependent hyperglycaemic conditions (a kind of diabetes). It is also used to treat stomach and endocrine problems.
Red Jaina Dragon Fruit variety comes from the genus Hylocereus and an unknown species. This variety is one of the heaviest fruit producers once it is mature. The fruit typically weighs 240g to 450g. The fruit is semi-sweet and good to eat, but its greatest potential is as a juicing variety. The crimson red lycopene enriched juice could complement a multitude of tropical drinks, smoothies, or culinary creations. Like most red flesh varieties, the fruit is also very high in antioxidants. Stems are tender and three-sided with medium-sized spines. The stems also have an olive colour with new growth having hints of purple.
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