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What is a dragon fruit tree?

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Quick Answer

Pitayas or dragon fruits grow on a treelike plant in the tropics. The plant is easy to grow and therefore very popular among gardening enthusiasts. Although the plant is widely cultivated in the tropics, it's native species was never resolved.

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Full Answer

The plant is easily cultivated and grows very fast. It requires compost containing a lot of humus and enough moisture in the summer to grow, and shouldn't be kept under a temperature of 50 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter. It can handle temperatures up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit and can be grown in a half shady environment or in the full sun. A lot of light in the early spring will stimulate budding. Flowers grow in summer or autumn.

The stems of the plant have a climbing habit and creep, sprawl or clamber and branch profusely. There can be multiple branches that can become 30 feet or longer. The nocturnal flowers are about one feet long.

The fruits can be red-fleshed or white-fleshed. Both are completely edible and have black seeds, but have slightly different fatty acid compositions. The flesh should be eaten raw and is low in calories. The taste is often described as very bland, a little bit like a kiwifruit and a melon, or mildly sweet. A popular use for the fruits is to convert them to juice or wine or to flavor other beverages. The flowers can be eaten or used as tea.

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