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Overview

Distribution

National Distribution

United States

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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Global Range: Caribbean Tropical Forest. Native in the American Tropics, naturally widely distributed. Introduced at numerous points among them south Florida, the Keys, and Miami.

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Distribution: Cultivated from the coast to the Cordillera Central, naturalized in dry or coastal areas. Native to Mexico, but widely cultivated in the tropics. Also on St. John and St. Thomas.

Public forest: Guánica.

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Range Description

The native range of this species is unknown as it has long been in cultivation (see Anderson 2001, Hunt et al. 2006). Some people believe it to be native to southern Mexico, the Pacific side of Guatemala and Costa Rica, and El Salvador, however, this has not been confirmed. It is the most widely cultivated species in the genus (includes commercial cultivation) and often escapes from cultivation and becomes naturalized. This species is therefore widely distributed and has been recorded from tropical forests in Mexico, various islands in the Caribbean, Central America, tropical South America, and southeast Asia. The type collection is from a cultivated specimen grown in London which was probably brought from China. In Brazil, it is introduced as a garden plant and sometimes escapes into roadside areas and maritime scrub, occurring in Pernambuco, Alagoas, Bahia, Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo (Taylor and Zappi 2004). In addition to the wide naturalized range it , it also has a wide altitudinal range occurring from near sea level up to 2,750 m.
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Range Description

This species is distributed in Guatemala in the Departments of El Progreso, Zacapa, Chiquimula, Jutiapa, Baja Verapaz, Alta Verapaz, Chimaltenango, Guatemala, Quiché and Huehuetenango (Bauer 2003, Hunt et al. 2006, Véliz 2008). It grows at elevations of 100 to 800 m asl.
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S Fujian, S Guangdong, SW Guangxi, Hainan, Taiwan [perhaps native to Mexico and Central America; widely introduced and escaped in tropical Asia, E Australia, and South America].
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introduced; Fla.; Mexico; West Indies; Central America; n South America.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

Plants clambering or sprawling. Stems deep green, 3-15 m. Joints 20-50 × 3-8(-12) cm, winged or angled, margins of wings or angles coarsely crenate, horny. Areoles 3-6 cm apart, 2-5 mm in diam. Spines 1-3(-6) per areole, spreading in various directions, gray-brown, conic to subulate, 2-5(-10) mm. Flowers 25-30 × 15-34 cm. Receptacle tube funnelform. Sepaloids with greenish midrib and mostly white margin, lanceolate-linear to linear, 10-15 × 1-1.5 cm, margin entire, apex acuminate, reflexed. Petaloids erect to spreading, white, narrowly oblanceolate, margin entire or erose. Filaments cream, 5-7.5 cm; anthers linear, ca. 4.5 mm. Style cream, 14-20 cm, stout; stigmas 20-24, exserted, 2-2.3 mm, slender. Fruit red, globose to ellipsoid, 7-12.5 × 6-12 cm, with numerous triangular scales, umbilicus small; pulp white. Seeds obovate, ca. 2 × 1 mm. Fl. July-Dec.
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Description

Plants sprawling or clambering over rocks, shrubs, and trees. Stems usually sharply 3-angled, to 500+ × 4-7.5 cm; ribs with undulate margins and gray, hornlike bark; areoles 2 mm diam. Spines 1-4 per areole, brownish gray, inconspicuous. Flowers fragrant; outer tepals white, outermost strongly reflexed, midstripes yellowish green; inner tepals white, broad, oblanceolate; filaments 50-75 mm; style cream, 175-200 mm. Fruits spheric to oblong. Seeds 2 × 1 mm. 2n = 22.
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Diagnostic Description

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Synonym

Cereus undatus Haworth, Philos. Mag. Ann. Chem. 7: 110. 1830.
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Synonym

Cereus undatus Haworth, Philos. Mag. Ann. Chem. 7: 110. 1830
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Ecology

Habitat

Comments: Sandy soils of hammocks at low elevations.

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Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
This species is a lithophyte or hemi-epiphyte tolerant of shade (Andrade et al. 2007). The naturalized populations are found in tropical deciduous forest, low tropical deciduous forest, riparian vegetation, thorn scrub, and thorn forest (Arias et al. 1997, Cálix de Dios 2004, Pérez-García et al. 2001). Nothing is known about its native habitat, but it is most likely to be lowland tropical deciduous forest.

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
The species is distributed in lowlands and valleys with dry season.

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Disturbed sites in sandy soils [tropical deciduous and semideciduous forests]; 0-50m.
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Trees, rocks, maritime scrub; sea level to 300 m.
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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Flowering/Fruiting

Flowering year-round.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Hylocereus undatus

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Hylocereus undatus

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 1
Specimens with Barcodes: 3
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

Reasons: Native in the American Tropics.

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IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
DD
Data Deficient

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2013

Assessor/s
Durán, R., Tapia, J.L. & Hernández, H.M.

Reviewer/s
Goettsch, B.K. & Hilton-Taylor, C.

Contributor/s

Justification
This species is listed as Data Deficient because the native range is not known with any certainty and hence nothing is known about its extent of occurrence, its population size and trends or any threats to the species. Even if the native range were confirmed to be Central America, distinguishing between the wild population and naturalized plants from cultivated sources would be very difficult.
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IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2013

Assessor/s
Véliz, M.

Reviewer/s
Goettsch, B.K. & Superina, M.

Contributor/s

Justification

Hylocereus guatemalensis has a very wide range, is abundant, and although there are threats in places such as cattle trampling, these are not sufficient to warrant any concern. Hence, this cactus is listed as Least Concern.

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Population

Population
This species is widely cultivated and has become naturalized in many countries, however, as the native range is unknown, nothing is known about the size and trends of the native wild population.

Population Trend
Unknown
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Population

Population
The species is very abundant.

Population Trend
Stable
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Threats

Comments: Most cacti subject to horticultural collecting.

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Major Threats
As the native range is not known, threats to the wild population cannot be determined.
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Major Threats
The only threats affecting the populations are land conversion for pastures and cattle trampling.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
This species is found in numerous protected areas as a result of the spread of naturalized populations. It is not known if the native wild population occurs in any protected areas. Research is required to determine what the native range of this species was and if there are any plants which could be called wild. The species is listed on CITES Appendix II.
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Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions

The species is legally protected in Guatemala, where it is included in the national list of threatened species (CONAP 2006). It occurs in a protected area.

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Wikipedia

Hylocereus undatus

Hylocereus undatus (White-fleshed Pitahaya) is a species of Cactaceae and is the most cultivated species in the genus. It is used both as an ornamental vine and as a fruit crop - the Pitahaya or Dragonfruit. The native origin of the species has never been resolved.

Common names[edit]

  • English: Pitahaya, Dragonfruit, Night blooming Cereus, Strawberry Pear, Belle of the Night, Conderella Plant
  • Estonian: maasik-metskaktus
  • French: pitaya, fruit du dragon, cierge-lézard, poire de chardon
  • German: Drachenfrucht, Distelbirne
  • Greek: Φρούτο του δράκου (fruto tu draku)
  • Hawaiian: panini-o-ka-puna-hou ("Punahou cactus") - a famous specimen still grows at Punahou School
  • Portuguese: pitaia, cato-barse, cardo-ananaz, rainha da noite
  • Spanish: pitahaya roja (Colombia, Mexico, Venezuela); flor de caliz, pitajava (Puerto Rico); junco, junco tapatio, pitahaya orejona, reina de la noche, tasajo (Mexico)
  • Swedish: skogskaktus, röd pitahaya
  • Vietnamese: thanh long
  • Thai: แก้วมังกร (kaeo mangkon)
  • Malay: buah naga. pronounce:boo-ah naa-gaa
  • Chinese: 火龙果 (huǒlóngguǒ)

Etymology[edit]

Greek "hyle" - wood, matter, Latin "cereus" - waxen, Latin "undatus" - wavy edges of the ribs.

History[edit]

There is a locally famous cactus hedge on a lava rock wall of the Punahou School in Honolulu, the hedge of Kapunahou.[1]

In 1836, Mrs. Bingham planted the hedge[2] of Hylocereus undatus, the famed cactus known in Hawaii as panini o kapunahou. Its exotic blossoms still bloom during the closing summer months on the Punahou walls. The hedge is on two sides of the school and about three hundred meters long.

From July to as late as October the hedge blooms and several times there is a wall of white flowers hundreds of yards long. Supposedly all the H. undatus 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 islands.

Hylocereus undatus overlooking Lanikai and Na Mokulua

Origin and habitat[edit]

H. undatus is lithophytic or hemiepiphytic. It is widely distributed through the tropics in cultivation. Like all true cacti, the genus originates in the Americas, but the precise origin of the species H. undatus is uncertain and it may be a hybrid. It has been claimed to have originated in Makassar on Sulawesi in Indonesia.[citation needed]Hylocereus undatus is a sprawling or vining, terrestrial or epiphytic cactus. They climb by use of aerial roots and can reach a height 10 meters or more growing on rocks and trees. The genus is very variable and closely related to Selenicereus.

Systematics[edit]

This species is closely related to H. ocamponis and H. escuintlensis.

Cultivation[edit]

An easily cultivated, fast growing epiphyte or xerophyte.It needs a compost containing plenty of humus and sufficient moisture in summer and should not be kept under 10°C (50°F) in winter. It can be grown in semi-shade or full sun. Extra light in the early spring will stimulate budding. Flowers in summer or autumn.

Description[edit]

The Red Pitahaya at the Chiyai market, Taiwan

Dragonfruit stems are scandent (climbing habit), creeping, sprawling or clambering, and branch profusely. There can be 4-7 of them, between 5 and 10 m or longer, with joints from 30–120 cm or longer, and 10–12 cm thick; with generally three ribs; margins are corneous (horn-like) with age, and undulate.

Areoles, that is, the small area bearing spines or hairs on a cactus, are 2 mm across with internodes 1–4 cm. Spines on the adult branches are 1-3, 2–4 mm long, being acicular (needle-like) to almost conical, and grayish brown to black in colour and spreading, with a deep green epidermis.

The scented, nocturnal flowers are 25–30 cm long, 15–17 cm wide with the pericarpel 2.5–5 cm long, about 2.5 cm thick, bracteoles ovate, acute, to 2.5 to less than 4 cm long; receptacle about 3 cm thick, bracteoles are linear-lanceolate, 3–8 cm long; outer tepals lanceolate-linear to linear, acuminate (tapering to a point), being 10–15 cm long, 10–15 mm wide and mucronate (ending in a short sharp point). Their colour is greenish-yellow or whitish, rarely rose-tinged; inner tepals are lanceolate (tapering to a point at the tip) to oblanceolate (i.e. more pointed at the base), up to 10–15 cm long about 40 mm wide at widest point, and mucronate, unbroken, sharp to acuminate (pointed), and white. Stamens 5–10 cm long, are declinate, inserted in one continuous zone from throat to 35 mm above the pericarpel and cream. The style (bearing the stigma) to 17, they are 5-24.5 cm long, stout, 6–8 mm thick, cream, and up to 26 stigma lobes, they can be whole or sometimes split at the top, cream, about 25 mm long. Nectar chambers are 30 mm long.

The fruit is oblong to oval, to 6–12 cm long, 4–9 cm thick, red with large bracteoles, with white pulp and are edible; seeds are black.

Cost[edit]

The flowers in Rome

Dragonfruit cost about £1-2 each in the UK, PHP 4,000-6,000/kg in Indang, Philippines. In Taiwan they are about 45 NT each, and depending on season, can be found in Hong Kong for 15 HKD for 3 (5HKD/per).

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Staples, G.W. & Herbst, D.R. 2005. A tropical garden flora. Bishop Museum Press,Honolulu. 908 pp
  2. ^ Donald Fitzgerald, 1991. Pearl Harbor, the Army Corps of Engineers, and Punahou's Cereus Hedge., The Hawaiian Journal of History, vol. 25
  • Anderson, E. F. 2001. The cactus family. Timber Press, Portland, Oregon, USA.
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Pitaya

Hylocereus undatus pitayas at a market stall in Taiwan.

A pitaya (pronounced /pɨˈtaɪ.ə/) or pitahaya (English pronunciation: /ˌpɪtəˈhaɪ.ə/) is the fruit of several cactus species, most importantly of the genus Hylocereus (sweet pitayas). These fruit are commonly known as dragon fruitcf. Chinese huǒ lóng guǒ 火龍果/火龙果 "fire dragon fruit" and lóng zhū guǒ "dragon pearl fruit", or Vietnamese thanh long (green dragon). Other vernacular names are strawberry pear or nanettikafruit.

Native to Mexico and Central and South America, the vine-like epiphytic Hylocereus cacti are also cultivated in Asian countries such as Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Malaysia. They are also found in Okinawa, Hawaii, Israel, northern Australia and southern China. Hylocereus blooms only at night; the large white fragrant flowers of the typical cactusflower shape are among those called "moonflower" or "Queen of the Night". Sweet pitayas have a creamy pulp and a delicate aroma.

If not otherwise stated, this article's content refers specifically to the pitayas of Hylocereus species, or "dragon fruit".

Stenocereus queretaroensis pitaya prepared for eating

Contents

Varieties

Selling dragon fruit juice in Thailand

Stenocereus fruit (sour pitayas) are of more local importance, being commonly eaten in the arid regions of the Americas. They are more sour and refreshing, with juicier flesh and a stronger taste, and are relished by hikers. The common Sour Pitaya or pitaya agria (S. gummosus)[1] in the Sonoran Desert has been an important food source for Native American peoples. The Seri people of northwestern Mexico still harvest the highly appreciated fruit[2], and call the plant ziix is ccapxl – "thing whose fruit is sour". The fruit of related species, such as S. queretaroensis and Dagger Cactus (S. griseus)[3], are also locally important food. Somewhat confusingly, the Organ Pipe Cactus (S. thurberi) fruit (called ool by the Seris) is the pitahaya dulce ("sweet pitahaya") of its native lands, as dragon fruit are not grown there in numbers. It still has a more tart aroma than Hylocereus fruit, described as somewhat reminiscent of watermelon; it has some uses in folk medicine.

Fruits of some other columnar cacti (mainly Cereeae) are also called "pitayas" – for example those of the Peruvian Apple Cactus (Cereus repandus). very rare

Cultivation

Pitaya being grown commercially in southern Vietnam
Cereus repandus plants with Pitaya fruits in Sde Nitzan, Israel

After thorough cleaning of the seeds from the pulp of the fruit, the seeds may be stored when dried. Ideally, the fruit must be unblemished and overripe. Seeds grow well in a compost or potting soil mix - even as a potted indoor plant. Pitaya cacti usually germinate between 11 and 14 days after shallow planting. As they are cacti, overwatering is a concern for home growers. As their growth continues, these climbing plants will find something to climb on, which can involve putting aerial roots down from the branches in addition to the basal roots. Once the plant reaches a mature 10 lbs weight, one may see the plant flower. Pitaya cacti flower overnight, usually wilting by the morning. They rely on nocturnal creatures such as bats or moths for fertilization by other pitaya. Self-fertilization will not produce fruit. This limits the capability of home growers to produce the fruit. However, the plants can flower between three and six times in a year depending especially on growing conditions. Like other cacti, if a healthy piece of the stem is broken off, it may take root in soil and become its own plant. This is a much shorter route to reproduction. The plants handles up to 104oF and very short periods of frost, but do not survive long exposure to freezing temperatures. The cacti thrive most in USDA zones 10-11, but may survive outdoors in zone 9a or 9b.[4][5][6]

Hylocereus has adapted to live in dry tropical climates with a moderate amount of rain. The dragon fruit sets on the cactus-like trees 30–50 days after flowering and can sometimes have 5-6 cycles of harvests per year. There are some farms in Vietnam that produce 30 tons of fruit per hectare every year.[7]

Pests and diseases

Overwatering or excessive rainfall can cause the flowers to drop and fruit to rot. Birds can be a nuisance. The bacterium Xanthomonas campestris causes the stems to rot. Dothiorella fungi can cause brown spots on the fruit, but this is not common.

Fruit

Ripe dragon fruits, Vietnam

Sweet pitayas come in three types, all with leathery, slightly leafy skin:

Early imports from Colombia to Australia were designated Hylocereus ocampensis (supposedly red fruit) and Cereus triangularis (supposedly yellow fruit)[8]. It is not quite certain to which species these taxa refer, though the latter is probably the red pitaya.

The fruit can weigh from 150 to 600 grams; some may reach one kilogram[9]. To prepare a pitaya for consumption, the fruit is cut open to expose the flesh.[9] The fruit's texture is sometimes likened to that of the kiwifruit due to the presence of black, crunchy seeds.[citation needed] The flesh, which is eaten raw, is mildly sweet and low in calories.[citation needed] Dragon fruit should not be used to accompany strong-tasting food, except to "clean the palate" between dishes.[citation needed] The seeds are eaten together with the flesh, have a nutty taste and are rich in lipids[10], but they are indigestible unless chewed. The fruit is also converted into juice or wine, or used to flavour other beverages. The flowers can be eaten or steeped as tea. The skin is not eaten, and in farm-grown fruit it may be polluted with pesticides.

Ingestion of significant amounts of red-fleshed dragon fruit (such as Costa Rica Pitaya) may result in pseudohematuria, a harmless reddish discoloration of the urine and faeces.[11]

Gallery

Nutritional information

Dragon fruit served in a buffet
Red Pitaya, ready to eat

The typical nutritional values per 100 g of raw pitaya (of which 55 g are edible) are as follows:

They may change subject to cultivation conditions.

The fatty acid compositions of two pitaya seed oils were determined as follows:[10]

"Hylocereus polyrhizus" (probably Costa Rica Pitaya)Hylocereus undatus (Red Pitaya)
Myristic acid0.2%0.3%
Palmitic acid17.9%17.1%
Stearic acid5.49%4.37%
Palmitoleic acid0.91%0.61%
Oleic acid21.6%23.8%
Cis-vaccenic acid3.14%2.81%
Linoleic acid49.6%50.1%
Linolenic acid1.21%0.98%

See also

  • Opuntia, prickly pear cacti whose edible fruit are called "cactus figs"

Footnotes

  1. ^ Lauri (2000)
  2. ^ Felger & Moser (1985)
  3. ^ Villalobos et al. (2007)
  4. ^ http://www.tradewindsfruit.com/dragon_fruit.htm
  5. ^ http://dragon.fruit.pitaya.fruit.foodlywise.com/growing_dragon_fruit_pitaya/growing_dragon_fruit.html
  6. ^ http://www.forestmulch.com/dragon-3.htm
  7. ^ Jacobs (1999)
  8. ^ a b c GF [2008]
  9. ^ a b GG (2006)
  10. ^ a b c Ariffin et al. [2008]
  11. ^ MMR (2008)
  12. ^ a b AS [2008], GF [2008]
  13. ^ GG (2006), GF [2008]

References

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Notes

Comments

Hylocereus undatus is sporadically naturalized in tropical and subtropical regions worldwide where it is cultivated for its large, edible fruits and beautiful flowers, which are among the largest in the cactus family. In Florida, H. undatus has escaped from cultivation in nine counties, forming large colonies in some areas. Individuals of this species grow prolifically and may soon overrun their substrate. Whether populations of H. undatus in the United States are merely persisting or are also reproducing sexually remains unclear. 

 The vernacular name night-blooming cereus has been applied to several genera of cacti with large, nocturnal flowers.

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This species was first introduced to China in 1645. It is usually cultivated as a hedge, or for its edible fruit. The flower is often eaten in a vegetable soup in S Guangdong.
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© Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO, 63110 USA

Source: Missouri Botanical Garden

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