Pitahaya (Dragon Fruit)

A pitaya or pitahaya is the fruit of several different types of cactus that are native to the Americas. Most of the time, pitaya means fruit from the genus Stenocereus, while pitahaya or dragon fruit means fruit from the genus Selenicereus (formerly Hylocereus), both of which are in the Cactaceae family.

Pitahaya is grown in many tropical and subtropical parts of the world, including Peru, Mexico, South Asia, Southeast Asia, East Asia, the United States, the Caribbean, Australia, Mesoamerica, and East Asia.

What is dragon fruit?

The Hylocereus cactus, also known as the “Honolulu queen”, is where pitaya grows. The flowers of this plant only open at night.

Pitainha comes from southern Mexico and Central America. It is now grown everywhere in the world. The two most common types look like dragons because their skin is bright red and their scales are green.

The most common kind has white pulp and black seeds, but there is also a less common kind with red pulp and black seeds.

One kind, called yellow pitaya, has a yellow skin, white pulp, and black seeds. Even though pitahaya looks strange, it tastes like other fruits. People have said that it tastes like a cross between a kiwi and a pear.

Vernacular names

In English, these fruits are often called “dragon fruit”. This name has been used since 1963, and it seems to come from the skin and prominent scaly spikes on the outside of the fruit.

The names pitahaya and pitaya come from Mexico, and the name pitaya roja comes from Central America and northern South America. It may be related to the name pitahaya for tall cacti with flowering fruit. You might also call this fruit a strawberry pear or vine-like moonlight dragon fruit.

Pitaya fruit


Pitahaya is grown in East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, the United States, the Caribbean, Australia, and other tropical and subtropical parts of the world.

The dragonfruit comes from South and Central America. This interesting plant is called a fruit, but it is really a cactus. Today, pitaya is grown in Asia, Israel, Mexico, Central America, and South America.

The Moonlight Cactus has a rough, pink or yellow skin with scales, and its flesh can be red or white, with tiny black seeds all over. The easiest way to get the meat out of the skin is with a spoon. It tastes sweet and has a crunchy texture, like a kiwi or a pear. The dragon fruit’s red flesh has lycopene in it, which has been linked to a lower risk of cancer and heart disease. You shouldn’t eat the skin.

What does dragon fruit taste like?

If you like kiwi fruit and pears, you might also like dragon fruit. It’s crunchy and sweet.

There are many different sizes and colors of pitahaya fruits:

Pink skin covers white meat. This is the most common kind, but it doesn’t taste very sweet. Some of the brands that sell it are Alice, Cosmic Charlie, and Guyute.

Pink skin with flesh that is red or pink. This type is sold in stores under names like Red Jaina and Bloody Mary. It is bigger and sweeter than its cousin with white flesh.

It has pink skin and purple flesh. Look in stores for the name “American Beauty”.

Yellow skin, white insides. The hardest pitahaya to find is the yellow one, which is also the sweetest.


The trendy fruit comes in many different types with different tastes and colors on the skin and inside.

White Dragon Fruit

White pitaya is the most common type of pitaya. It has a bright pink skin and white flesh with tasty black seeds. Some of the most popular varieties of this plant are:

  • David Bowie: This type of white dragon fruit is thinner than most others and has a taste that is more sour and similar to lemon.
  • Vietnamese Jaina is one of the most popular kinds in the world, in part because its fruit is so bright white. This variety has beautiful color-blocking that would look great on Instagram.
  • L.A. Woman: It’s a rarely grown variety that some experts say tastes bad.
  • Seoul Kitchen: It is a bit rounder and has sweeter, smoother flesh than its cousin from Los Angeles.
  • Lake Atitlan: This exotic-sounding dragon fruit is named after a lake in Guatemala that is surrounded by volcanoes. It is usually bigger and tangier than other types.
  • Neitzel: This sweet variety is from California and tastes best when chilled.
  • Alice: This type of pitahaya is named after Alice Snow, a rock star in the world of fruit growing. It is not as sweet as other types, but its skin is a very bright pink.
  • Guyute: It is a sweet variety of white pitaya fruit, which is an exotic plant.
  • Harpua: This variety has a white pulp that tastes a bit like melon.
  • Thompson: this cultivar of white dragon fruit is one of the biggest and can weigh up to 1.5 pounds.

Red Dragon Fruit

Red dragon fruit has the same pretty pink skin as its white cousins, but its flesh is a bright red.

  • Red Jaina: This variety has a very dark red pulp and is very juicy.
  • Zamorano: This red pitaya fruit is named after the university in Honduras where it was first created. It is medium-sized and has a mild, sweet taste.
  • Costa Rican Sunset: Just like its name suggests, this type of pitahaya is unique because its vine grows slowly.
  • Natural Mystic: This red pitahaya fruit, which gets its name from a Bob Marley song, is bigger and sweeter than most fruits.

Pink Dragon Fruit

Technically, these are all types of red dragonfruit, but the insides can look anywhere from soft rose to hot pink.

  • Makisupa: This red but more like pink pitaya fruit variety has beautiful magenta flesh and a sweet and sour taste.
  • American Beauty is both the name of a classic Grateful Dead album and the name of this variety’s amazing pink pulp. This variety is also known for its deliciously sweet taste.
  • Delight: This pink pitahaya fruit lives up to its name with a smooth texture, sweet taste, and beautiful soft pink flesh.
  • Dark Star has a long, skinny shape and a mild grape flavor.
  • Cosmic Charlie: This magenta-fleshed variety with a taste of grape and kiwi.
  • Purple Haze. It is one of the biggest types of dragon fruit, has a bright pink color, and tastes like grapes.
  • Voodoo Child: It is small but powerful, with a sweet grape taste packed into a dark pink fruit about the size of an egg.

Yellow fruit

This type of pitaya isn’t afraid to stand out. Its yellow skin has a different pattern of scales than most dragon fruits.

There is only one type of yellow dragonfruit, but most people think it’s the best because its white, firm flesh has a lot of sweetness.

The most popular yellow-skinned sorts:

  • Honey Dragon;
  • Colombiana;
  • Australian Gold;
  • Israeli golden.

Orange dragonfruit

As for the orange dragon fruit, it’s not as widely known or extensively studied as its red or yellow counterparts. Information about its specific nutritional profile, flavor, and availability seems limited from the given sources. However, it’s reasonable to assume that the orange dragon fruit has similar nutritional and health benefits as other dragon fruit varieties.

It can be incorporated into your diet in various ways, such as adding it to smoothies, using it as a topping for oatmeal or yogurt, or simply enjoying it as a dessert.

The most famous orange-skinned varieties:

  • Peruvian Orange;
  • Asunta 5;
  • Hawaiian Orange dwarf.

All varieties

We hope you find this list of dragon fruits helpful if you want to grow dragon fruits in your backyard and don’t know where to start. Ctrl + D is used to mark a page 🙂

Don’t want to scroll through a list of more than 200 species? Jump to the next point, where we talk about its benefits.

Name Origin Need for cross pollination Weight (lbs) Peel color Pulp color Flavor
Alice California Yes 0.5-1.0 Bright pink, green scales White Semisweet, good
American Beauty Guatemala No 0.5-1.0 Pink, light green scales Dark pink Good flavor
Bloody Mary California Yes 0.25-0.5 Red, green scales Dark red Semisweet, good
Cosmic Charlie California No 0.75-1.25 Pink, light green scales Pink Grape/kiwi-
like flavor
Costa Rican Sunset Costa Rica Yes 0.25-0.5 Pink, green scales Dark red Good flavor
Dark Star California Yes 0.75-1.25 Pink, light green scales Pink Mild grape-like flavor
David Bowie California No 0.5-1.0 Bright pink, green on margins of scales White Sweet, tangy flavor
Delight California No 0.5-1.0 Bright pink, green scales Light pink, White Sweet
Guyute Central America No 0.5-1.0 Pink, green scales White Sweet
Halley’s Comet California No 1.5-2.0 Pink, green scales Dark pink Sweet, good flavor
Harpua Central America No 0.75-1.0 Bright pink, green scales White Semisweet, good flavor
L.A. Woman California Yes 0.75-1.5 Bright pink, green scales White Sweet, bad after taste
Lake Atitlan Red Guatemala No 0.75-1.0 Bright pink, green scales Pink / red Sweet and tangy flavor
Makisupa Central America No 0.75-1.25 Pink, green scales Dark Pink Sweet, slightly astringent
Neitzel California No 0.75-1.0 Bright pink, green scales White Sweet
Physical Graffiti California No 0.75-1.5 Dark pink, green scales Pink Sweet, good flavor
Purple Haze California No 1.0-2.0 Dark pink, green scales Dark pink Sweet grape/kiwi- like flavor
Red Jaina Florida Yes 0.5-0.75 Dark pink, dark pink scales Red Semisweet, good flavor
Seoul Kitchen Florida No 0.75-1.0 Bright pink, light green scales White Sweet
Thompson G1 California No 1.5-2.0 Bright pink, green scales White Sweet, good flavor
Thompson G2 California Yes 1.5-2.0 Bright pink, green scales Purple Sweet, good flavor
Vietnam Jaina Vietnam No 0.5-1.5 Bright pink, green scales White Semisweet
Voodoo Child Florida No 0.15-0.25 Dark pink, green scales Dark pink Sweet, grape-like flavor
Zamorano Honduras No 0.5-1.0 Red, scales with green margins Red Sweet, mild flavor
El Grullo Mexico Yes 0.5-1.0 Bright pink, green scales Dark pink Semisweet
Armando Nicaragua No 0.5-1.0 Red, scales with green margins Dark pink Sweet, mild flavor
Bien Hoa White Guatemala No 1.5-2.0 Bright pink, green scales White Semisweet
Bien Hoa Red Guatemala No 0.5-1.0 Dark pink, green scales Dark pink Good flavor
Valdivia Roja Mexico Yes 0.5-0.75 Red, scales with green margins Red Good flavor
Colombiana Colombia No 0.5-0.75 Yellow White Sweet, good flavor
Baby Cerrado Brazil Yes 0.25-0.75 Bright pink, green scales White Good flavor
AX Philippines Yes 1.0-1.25 Green Dark pink Semisweet
Natural Mystic Thailand No 1.0-2.0 Red, scales with green margins Purple Sweet, good flavor
Australian Gold Australia Yes 1.5-2.0 Yellow with green scales White Semisweet
Israeli golden Israel No 1.0-1.25 Yellow White Good flavor
Mexicana Mexico / Nicaragua No 1.0-1.25 Bright red, green scales White Semisweet
Lisa Nicaragua Yes 0.5-1.0 Red, green scales Dark red Good flavor
Rosa Nicaragua Yes 0.5-0.75 Red, green scales Dark red Good flavor
Maria Rosa California No 1.0-1.25 Red, scales with green margins Soft pink Semisweet
San Ignacio Nicaragua No 1.0-1.5 Red, scales with green margins Dark red Good flavor
Cebra Nicaragua Yes 0.5-1.0 Red, scales with green margins Dark red Good flavor
Sin Espinas Nicaragua Yes 1.0-1.5 Pink skin with green fins Deep red Good flavor
Orejona Nicaragua Yes 0.5-1.0 Red, green scales Dark Red Sweet, mild flavor
Asunta 1 California Yes 0.5-0.75 Green White / light purple Semisweet
Asunta 2 California Yes 0.5-0.75 Green Pale pink Good flavor
Asunta 3 California Yes 0.5-1.0 Green to yellow Magenta purple Good flavor
Asunta 4 California Yes 1.0-2.0 Peach, green fins Magenta Good flavor
Asunta 5 California Yes 0.5-1.0 Yellowish-orange Pink Very sweet
Black africanis Indonesia / Philippines No 0.25-0.50 Black Dark pink Good flavor
Condor California No 1.0-2.0 Light green with pink hues Magenta Sweet taste
Broxensis Blue Central America Yes 0.5-1.0 Red Dark red Very bitter
Connie Gee California Yes 0.75-1.5 Pale red rind with green fins Pink Sweet, good flavor
Desert King Israel Yes 0.25-0.50 Pink to light orange Magenta Sweet, mild flavor
Enigma California Yes 0.25-0.50 Red White Semisweet
Florida’s sweet Red Florida No 0.75-1.5 Red Magenta Sweet
Honey Dragon Ecuador No 1.0-1.25 Yellow White Very sweet
Kim White Vietnam No 1.0-1.5 Pink White Sweet
Kim Red Vietnam No 1.0-2.0 Pink Magenta Very sweet
K1 California No 1.0-1.5 Pink White Sweet
Rainbow Philippines No 1.0-1.5 From green to yellow to red Dark crimson Sweet
Nicaraguan red Nicaragua No 0.75-1.0 Bright purple Bright purple Very sweet
Kip’s red South America No 0.5-1.0 Red Pink Sweet
Oaxacan White Mexico Yes 1.0-1.5 Red White Sweet, mild flavor
Peruvian White Peru No 1.0-1.5 Red White Sweet
Peruvian Yellow Peru No 0.5-1.0 Yellow White Very sweet
Edgar California Yes 1.0-1.5 Dark crimson Reddish-purple Sweet
Tropicana California Yes 1.5-2.0 Red Magenta Very sweet
Joyce Greenlund California No 1.5-2.0 Red White Sweet, mild flavor
Venus Israel Yes 1.5-2.0 Red Bright red Sweet
Bilu Israel Yes 1.0-1.5 Red Purple Very sweet
Yellow lemonade California No 0.75-1.0 Yellow White Good flavor
Pink lemonade California No 1.5-2.0 Pink Pale pink Very sweet
Santa Barbara California No 0.75-1.0 Red Deep purple Very sweet
Aztec gem Australia No 0.5-1.0 Red Deep purple Good flavor
F1 California No 1.0-1.5 Red White Semisweet
Sugar dragon California No 0.5-0.75 Crimson Vivid red or purple Very sweet
Scott’s Purple Australia Yes 1.0-1.5 Dark red Pink Very sweet
Super Shenron California No 1.0-1.5 Dark crimson Dark crimson Very sweet
Giant Hawaiian Gold Hawaii Yes 1.75-2.25 Yellow White Very sweet
Hawaiian Orange dwarf Hawaii No 0.25-0.75 Orange Crimson Very sweet
Variegata Yellow Vietnam No 1.5-2.0 Pink White Sweet
White King Hollywood Vietnam No 0.75-1.0 Pink White Sweet
Texas Holdem California No 0.75-1.0 Pink White Semisweet
Lake Atitlan white Guatemala No 0.75-1.0 Red White Semisweet
Kona Brazil Hawaii Yes 0.5-0.75 Red Magenta Sweet
Herculandia Brazil No 0.5-0.75 Red White Semisweet
Yellow Cross 68 California Yes 0.75-1.0 Dark red Deep red Semisweet
Taiwan Pink Taiwan No 0.5-1.0 Pink Deep pink Sweet
South Patch Watermelon California No 1.0-1.5 Pink Pink Sweet
Poipu Hawaii No 0.25-0.75 Red White Sweet
Phoenix red California No 0.75-1.5 Red Red Sweet
Thai Royal Red Thailand No 0.75-1.75 Red Pink Sweet
Thai Royal Blood Thailand No 0.75-1.0 Red Dark red Sweet
Palora Yellow Ecuador No 1.0-1.5 Yellow White Very sweet
Tricia California Yes 1.0-1.5 Red Deep red Sweet
Maui Hawaii No 1.0-1.5 Red White Sweet
Manila Red Philippines No 1.0-1.5 Red Pink Sweet
Malaysian Red Malaysia No 1.0-1.25 Red Pink Sweet
Jc01 Nicaragua No 0.5-1.0 Deep red Pink Sweet
Jc02 Nicaragua No 0.5-0.75 Dark red Dark red Sweet
KIBC California Yes 1.0-1.23 Purple Red or pink Sweet
La Verne Red California Yes 1.0-1.5 Red Bright purple Sweet
Lemonade white Australia No 2.0-2.5 Red White Sour and sweet
King-Kong Philippines No 2.0-3.0 Pink White Sweet
Neon California No 0.20-0.25 Pink Magenta Very sweet
Taiwan Big Red Taiwan No 0.75-1.0 Pink Deep pink Very sweet
Michelle California Yes 0.75-1.0 Red Dark red Sour and sweet
Sheryl’s pink California No 1.25-1.5 Pink White Sweet
Connie Mayer Germany Yes 0.25-1.0 Green White Very sweet
Edgar’s Baby South America Yes 0.75-1.0 Green Magenta Very sweet
Trinidad Trinidad island Yes 0.75-1.5 Red White Sweet and sour
Gargantuan California Yes 1.5-2.5 Red Red Sweet
Sophia Red California No 0.5-0.75 Red White Sweet
Bundy Australia No 1.0-1.5 Dark red Deep purple Very sweet
Jacky Lee Australia Yes 1.5-2.0 Red Purple Sweet and sour
Marmel 01 Spain Yes 0.75-1.5 Red Purple Sweet
Marmel 08 Spain Yes 0.75-1.0 Pale green White Sweet and sour
Moroccan Morocco No 0.75-1.0 Red or pink Magenta Sweet
Pink diamond Australia No 0.25-0.5 Pale pink Pearl pink Sweet and sour
Trish Red Australia No 1.25-1.5 Red Red Sweet
Red Crystal Taiwan Yes 0.75-1.0 Pink Deep purple Very sweet
White Crystal Taiwan Yes 1.0-1.25 Pale pink White Sweet
Honey white Australia No 0.75-1.0 Bright red White Sweet
Orange Giant Philippines Yes 0.75-1.25 Green and orange Purple Very sweet
Blush Australia Yes 1.0-1.25 Red Pale pink Sweet
Wild Thing California Yes 0.5-0.75 Red Red Sweet
Starburst California Yes 0.75-1.25 Red Burgundy-red Sweet
Black Velvet Philippines Yes 1.0-2.0 Dark pink / black Dark pink Sweet
La Magdalena California Yes 0.5-0.75 Peachy White Very swet
Hana White Hawaii No 0.25-0.5 Pink White Sweet
George’s White California No 0.75-1.5 Bright pink White Sweet and sour
George’s Red California Yes 1.0-1.75 Bright pink Purple Sweet and sour
Amelie Canada Yes 1.5-2.0 Bright pink Light pink Sweet
Riona Canada Yes 0.25-0.5 Bright pink Magenta Very sweet
White Sapphire California No 0.75-1.0 Red Pale pink Sweet and sour
Townsend Pink California No 0.75-1.0 Red Pale pink Sweet
Shayna Israel No 0.75-1.0 Reddish to pink Purple Sweet
Ruby Red Spain No 0.25-0.5 Red Bright red Sweet
Chinese Red China No 1.0-1.75 Red Red-purple Sweet
Siam Red Japan No 0.75-1.0 Red Deep red Sweet
Rixford California Yes 0.75-1.0 Red Purple Sweet
Ohana Express Hawaii No 0.5-0.75 Red Magenta Very sweet
Esmeralda Mexico Yes 1.0-1.75 Green White Sweet
Chimera California No 1.5-2.0 Pink and green skin White Very sweet
Pink Panther California No 0.5-0.75 Red Red / Pink Very sweet
Yellow Thai California No 0.75-1.0 Reddish-orange with yellow fins White Sweet
Colombian Supreme Red Colombia No 0.75-1.75 Bright pink Blood-red Sweet
Robles Red California No 0.75-1.0 Pink Deep reddish Sweet
Juneau Red California Yes 1.5-2.0 Red Bright magenta Sweet
Beauty Berry Thailand Yes 1.5-2.0 Green Red Sweet
Jungle Jim California Yes 0.5-0.75 Pale red Purple Sweet
Kinsley California Yes 0.75-1.5 Red with green scales Pinkish Sweet
Niezel California No 1.0-1.25 Red White Sweet
Queen Daenerys California Yes 0.5-1.0 Pink Purple Very sweet
Medusa California Yes 1.0-1.5 Pink Purple Very sweet
Bruni California Yes 0.25-0.75 Green White Sweet
Brandon Red Mexico No 0.75-1.0 Red Crimson Sweet and sour
Kathy Van Arum California Yes 0.5-0.75 Red Light pink Sweet
Apollo yellow Israel Yes 0.5-1.0 White Pale yellow Sweet
La Verne Pink California Yes 0.75-1.25 Red Pale pink Sweet and sour
Eagle Rock California Yes 1.0-1.5 Pink pinkish purple Sweet
Frankie’s Red California Yes 0.5-0.75 Orange Red Sweet
Kim Yellow Vietnam No 0.75-1.0 Yellow White Sweet
Katie’s Red Australia Yes 1.0-1.5 Red Magenta Sweet
Princess Sansa California Yes 0.75-1.0 Coral Red Sweet
Celeste California No 0.75-1.25 Red Magenta Sweet
Capistrano Valley California No 0.75-1.25 Bright pink with green fins White Sweet and sour
Paisley California Yes 0.75-1.0 Red Deep purple Sweet and sour
Pepino Dulce California No 1.25-2.0 Pink White Sweet
Princess of the Night  Mexico No 0.25-0.5 Pale pink White Sweet
Queen of the Night Mexico No 0.25-0.5 Pink White Sweet
Thick King Brazil Yes 0.75-1.0 Bright pink White Sweet
UCLA California Yes 0.75-1.0 Deep red Red Sweet
Vivid Purpurea California Yes 0.75-1.0 Pink Red Sweet
Little Winnie California Yes 0.20-0.25 Green Pale magenta Sweet
Mister Woo California  Yes 1.0-1.25 Red Deep purple Sweet
Country Roads California Yes 0.5-1.0 Red Dark red Sweet
Surinam Red Suriname No 0.75-1.0 Red Red Sweet and sour
Godzilla Suriname No 0.5-0.75 Purple Dark purple Sweet
Jindu 1 Red Heart China No 1.25-1.5 Red Magenta Sweet
Oliver Black California Yes 0.5-1.0 Pink Dark red Very sweet
Simon Purple Australia No 0.75-1.0 Pink Purple Very sweet
Tabasco Mexico No 0.75-1.0 Pink White Sweet
Albino yellow Italy No 1.0-1.25 Yellow White Very sweet
Caramaru Brazil No 0.75-1.25 Red White Sweet
Chameleon Taiwan Yes 1.0-1.5 Purple-red-green Purple with a pale pink center Sweet
Jade Red Australia Yes 1.0-1.5 Red Purple Sweet
Peruvian Orange Peru Yes 0.5-1.0 Orange green Pink Sweet
Rubra Brazil No 0.75-1.0 Pink Dark pink Sweet
Cerise Australia No 0.5-1.0 Pink skin with intense greenish-yellow hue Pink Sweet
Malaysian purple Malaysia No 0.75-1.0 Purple/orange Purple Sweet
Namibian orange Namibia Yes 0.5-1.0 Orange Pink Sweet
Not S8 California Yes 1.0-1.5 Pink Bright purple Sweet
Pink beauty Mexico No 0.75-1.0 Pink with greenish scales Pink Sweet
Leo’s dragon California Yes 0.75-1.25 Pink Red or magenta Sweet and sour
CFA Supersweet Gold Australia Yes 1.25-1.5 Yellow White Very sweet
Coneflower Moonlight California Yes 0.5-1.0 Pink White Sweet and sour
Hawaiian pink  Hawaii No 1.25-1.5 Pink Pale pink Sweet
CFA Purple Dawn Supreme Australia No 1.75-2.0 Pink Purple Sweet
Hawaiian Purple Hawaii No 0.75-1.25 Green Purple Sweet
Hawaiian Red Hawaii Yes 0.75-1.0 Red Deep red Sweet
Honduran Moon Honduras Yes 0.5-0.75 Bright pink White Sweet
Houghton California No 1.25-1.5 Red Red Sweet
Jala no. 1 Mexico Yes 0.75-1.0 Red Deep red Sweet
Jamaican Red Jamaica Yes 0.75-1.0 Red Red Sweet
Maria Fucsia Philippines Yes 0.75-1.0 Red Fucsia Sweet
Asunta 6 California Yes 0.5-0.75 Reddish-green Pink Sweet

The benefits of eating dragon fruit? Is it good for your health?

Studies on animals show that pitaya may be good for your health in a number of ways. Many of these might be because it has a lot of fiber and antioxidants.

Both red and white dragon fruits have been shown to help obese mice with insulin resistance and fatty liver.

In one study, mice that ate a high-fat diet and were given an extract of the fruit gained less weight and had less liver fat, insulin resistance, and inflammation. This was partly because their gut bacteria had changed in a good way.

Pitahaya has prebiotic fiber that helps good bacteria grow in your gut, which could improve your metabolic health.

Even though this edible fruit may help with some symptoms of metabolic syndrome, which is a condition linked to type 2 diabetes, not all of its effects may be good.

In a study with mice on a high-fat, high-carb diet, the group that got dragon fruit juice had better blood sugar responses and lower levels of some liver enzyme markers, while another liver enzyme marker rose significantly.

In another study, rats with diabetes who were given an extract of the fruit had a 35% drop in malondialdehyde, which is a sign of damage caused by free radicals. They also had less stiffness in their arteries than those in the control group.

Different studies have shown different effects of pitaya on people with type 2 diabetes, so more research is needed to confirm these positive effects.

Pitaya fruit


Dragonfruit is a great way to get fiber. Adults should get at least 25 grams of fiber every day, and a 1-cup serving of pitahaya has 7 grams.

Michael Gorelov
Michael Gorelov

Fiber may be good for your digestive and heart health. Fiber also makes you feel full, which can help you lose weight. People are more likely to keep a healthy weight if they eat whole, fiber-rich foods.

Facts about food

Dragon fruit is full of vitamins and minerals that are good for you, such as:

  1. Carotenoids (may reduce cancer risk);
  2. Lycopene (may improve heart health and reduce cancer risk);
  3. Magnesium (important for cell function, and dragon fruit provides 18 percent of the recommended daily amount);
  4. Iron (important for healthy blood and energy, and dragon fruit contains 8 percent of the recommended daily intake);
  5. Vitamin C (helps your body absorb the iron and boosts immune system health).

Seed oils

The types of fatty acids in two pitaya seed oils were found to be as follows:

TypeSelenicereus costaricensis ("Pitaya roja" or "red-fleshed pitaya")Hylocereus undatus ("Pitaya blanca" or "white-fleshed pitahaya")
Myristic acid 0.2% 0.3%
Palmitic acid 17.9%17.1%
Stearic acid 5.5%4.4%
Palmitoleic acid0.9%0.6%
Oleic acid21.6%23.8%
Cis-vaccenic acid3.1%2.8%
Linoleic acid49.6% 50.1%
Linolenic acid 1.2%1.0%

Boosts gut health

Having healthy bacteria in your gut may help you digest food and even lower your risk of getting colon cancer.
Some studies seemed to show that dragon fruit helped good bacteria grow in the gut.

It might be good for the gut microbiome, which is made up of the good bacteria in our intestines.

There are small amounts of many nutrients in pitaya. It’s also a good source of fiber, iron, and magnesium.
Here are the nutrition facts for a 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving:

  • Calories: 60;
  • Protein: 1.2 grams;
  • Fat: 0 grams;
  • Carbs: 13 grams;
  • Fiber: 3 grams;
  • 3% of the reference daily intake (RDI) for vitamin C;
  • Iron makes up 4% of the RDI;
  • 10% of the RDI is made up of magnesium.

Dragon fruit is a very healthy fruit because it has a lot of fiber, magnesium, and very few calories.

Provides Several Antioxidants

There are several types of antioxidants in pitahaya.

These are chemicals that protect your cells from unstable molecules called free radicals, which are linked to chronic diseases and getting older.

Here are some of the most important antioxidants in pitaya pulp:

Betalains: Deep red pigments found in the pulp of red dragonfruit have been shown to keep “bad” LDL cholesterol from oxidizing or getting damaged.

Hydroxycinnamates: Test-tube and animal studies have shown that this group of chemicals fights cancer.

Flavonoids are a large group of different antioxidants that are linked to better brain health and a lower risk of heart disease.

One study looked at how 17 tropical fruits and berries compare in terms of their antioxidant properties. Even though dragon fruit didn’t have a lot of antioxidants, it was found to be best at protecting certain fatty acids from damage caused by free radicals.

Excellent source of vitamin C
Reduces Signs of Aging
Contains several antioxidants including betalains, hydroxycinnamates, and flavonoids that protect against cell damage
Good source of iron
Good source of dietary fiber
Soothes Sunburned Skin

Better control of blood sugar

A meta-analysis that was published in the journal PLOS ONE  looks at how eating pitahaya affects the way people with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes control their blood sugar levels.

The paper said that studies on animals had shown a possible link between eating dragon fruit and better control of diabetes. This is because pitaya helps cells in the pancreas that make insulin grow.

The analysis looked at a number of clinical trials that compared the effects of dragon fruit to a placebo in people with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes. The study’s authors came to the conclusion that the dragon fruit had a big impact on fasting plasma glucose in people with prediabetes. They also found that the benefits to blood sugar can be bigger the more dragon fruit a person eats.

But the study didn’t find any link between eating pitahaya and being better able to control type 2 diabetes.
Researchers suggest doing more studies on prediabetes and eating dragon fruit to find out if eating pitaya can help keep blood sugar levels stable.

Pitaya fruit

Prebiotic properties

A study in the Electronic Journal of Biotechnology found that eating dragon fruit has a prebiotic effect on the body that helps digestion and feeds the bacteria in the gut.

Researchers think that oligosaccharides, which are a type of carbohydrate found in pitaya, help good bacteria grow in the stomach and intestines.

Doctors also call these bacteria “probiotics” because they help people in many ways.

Prebiotics like those found in pitahaya can help with digestion, boost the immune system, and lower the risk of getting intestinal infections.

Has fats that are good for you

The dragon fruit’s small seeds are very good for your health.

Research published in the World Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences says that these seeds have natural oils and fatty acids, such as omega-3 and omega-9 fatty acids.

All of these things are good for a person’s heart health, according to doctors.

Effects that are bad

Overall, it looks like dragon fruit is safe. But in some rare cases, a person may have an allergic reaction (1, 2).
Two women who had never had a food allergy before got anaphylactic shock after eating a fruit mix that included pitahaya. Blood tests showed that they did have antibodies against dragon fruit.
At this point, only these two allergic reactions have been reported, but this doesn’t mean that other people aren’t allergic to this fruit and don’t know it.

How can you tell when dragon fruit is ready to eat?

Since pink-skinned pitaya is the most common kind in the U.S., that’s what we’ll talk about. The fruit is picked before it is fully ripe so that it can be shipped easily. It is firmer and doesn’t bruise as easily, and it is less likely to go bad on the trip.

The white dragon fruit is not as sweet as the pink one. The color of the flesh should be written on the grower’s sticker on the fruit. If not, size and shape can help. Pink-fleshed dragon fruit is round and has short “wings”, which are the petal-shaped pieces on the outside of the fruit. White-fleshed pitahaya is long and has long “wings”.

Look for dragon fruit at the market that is heavy for its size. If you pick up a few, you’ll be able to tell the difference. These are the juiciest fruits. The outside of the fruit should always be pink and show no signs of damage. Pitaya is a bit firm when ripe but will give under the pressure of your thumb if you squeeze it, like a ripe avocado. When dragon fruit is ripe, its wings will dry out, turning yellow with some brown at their tips.


How to pick the best pitahaya and keep it fresh

There’s a good chance you’ve passed over dragon fruit at the grocery store in favor of the familiar apple or orange. It might seem hard to choose exotic fruits. Where can I get dragon fruit? How can you tell if it’s ready to eat? How will you keep it?

Your worries are understandable, but choosing pitaya and keeping it fresh is a lot easier than you think.
As a general rule, don’t buy a pitahaya with a lot of brown spots or bruises. It’s fine to eat fruit with one or two small spots, but you should avoid fruit with a lot of spots.

The best time to buy fruit is when it is ripe. Ripeness is shown by a color that is bright and even. You can also tell if a dragon fruit is good by giving the skin a gentle press with your finger. It should give a little bit, but not be too soft.

Remember that it’s fine to buy a dragonfruit that is very firm. Just know that you won’t be able to eat it for a few days until it ripens.

How to cut dragon fruit and eat it

If you can’t find pitahaya at your local grocery store, you might have better luck at a specialty food store or Asian market.

Anna Gorelova
Anna Gorelova

To choose one, you should go with your gut. Do what you know about fruit. When you touch it with your finger, it should feel a little soft. If it's too hard, you can still take it home and let it ripen on your counter.

When you’re ready to eat it, peel it and cut it into pieces. Like an avocado, you eat the inside and throw away the outside. You could also cut it in half and use a spoon or melon baller to scoop out the flesh.

Pitaya is great because it can be used in many different ways. Some people just eat the fruit without the flesh. For a summer salad, you could also put dragon fruit in a bowl with pineapple, kiwi, blueberries, or strawberries.

You could also make a smoothie with pitahaya and other fruits. You can even put the fruit in yogurt or ice cream. A Dragon Fruit Smoothie Bowl is a simple recipe you can try this week.

Even though pitaya looks scary, it is very easy to eat.

How to cook with dragonfruit: cut the fruit into four pieces to get it ready. Either peel off the skin or use a spoon, ice cream scoop, or melon baller to get the flesh out. Skin is not good to eat.

How to eat pitahaya:

  1. Choose a ripe fruit with a smooth, bright red skin that gives a little when you squeeze it.
  2. Cut the fruit in half by cutting straight through it with a sharp knife.
  3. You can eat the fruit right out of the skin with a spoon, or you can peel off the skin and cut the pulp into small pieces.

Different ways to serve dragon fruit:

  1. Just cut it into pieces and eat it as is.
  2. Piece it up and put Greek yogurt and chopped nuts on top.
  3. You can add it to a salad.

How to Keep It

Dragon fruit that is ready to eat can sit on the counter for a few days. Put the fruit in a plastic bag and seal it. Then put the bag in the refrigerator. This fruit can take on the tastes and smells of other foods, so it needs to be well wrapped.

Cut the pitahaya only when you’re ready to eat it. Once it is cut, it needs to be put in a container with a tight lid and put in the fridge. Depending on how ripe it is, it can stay fresh for a day or maybe a little longer. When the “meat” starts to get brown and mushy, it’s time to throw it out.

Another Potential Use

Another thing you could do with pitaya is use it as part of your skin care routine.

Not only does eating dragon fruit give you antioxidants and vitamins that can help your skin, but a mask with dragon fruit may also be good for your skin.

Use simple things to make your own mask. For example, blend one dragonfruit with a tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil and two tablespoons of honey.

Put the mixture on your face, wait 15 minutes, and then wash it off. The antioxidants in pitahaya may help make skin more flexible and stop it from getting old too quickly. You can also put a mask made from pitaya on your hair to make it stronger and healthier.Pitaya fruit

How to add to the diet

Dragon fruit can be blended into a smoothie. Dragon fruit is easy to prepare because it only needs to be cut and eaten.

Follow these steps to eat:

  • Press on the dragon fruit’s peel to find out if it’s ready to eat. If the peel gives a little, it’s probably ready.
    Half the pitahaya down the middle. If you want, cut the fruit into four more pieces. This can make it easier to get the peel off;
  • Take off the peel and throw away any pink parts of the fruit that are still there. You can eat these, but they tend to be very bitter;
  • Eat the dragonfruit’s flesh, which includes the tiny black seeds. These have fiber, which can make pitaya even better for your health.

Some people put lime juice on fruit to make it taste better. Dragon fruit is a healthy and tasty food that can be chilled, grilled, or blended into different dishes.

Most people don’t eat the skin because it tastes bitter, but some people pickle it and eat it by itself or add it to a salad. This gives you the added benefit of more flavonoids, which are antioxidants that help reduce inflammation.

Dragon Fruit Recipes

Most of the time, pitahaya is eaten by itself, either cut up or right out of the skin. (It’s the perfect container for a quick snack—just grab a spoon and start eating.) You can put the fruit cubes back into the skin shell to serve, or you can just put them on a dish and eat them. Or, to make a pretty presentation, use a melon baller to scoop out the dragon fruit’s flesh.

Dragonfruit goes well with all kinds of fish, but especially with cod, tuna, and mahi-mahi. Serve the fruit on the side, or chop it up and put it on top of the fish as a salsa. You can mix pitaya with mango, papaya, or pineapple, or almost any other tropical fruit. The sweet taste of pitahaya is also great for making drinks and frozen desserts.

Dragon fruit is best eaten raw, but like other fruits, it can also be cooked on a grill.

You can drink it by itself or put it in:

  • Cocktails;
  • Desserts;
  • Cod, tuna, and mahimahi are the best fish to eat;
  • Salads;
  • Smoothies;
  • Jam.

Dragon fruit Selenicereus

How many different types of dragon fruit are there?

There are three kinds of sweet pitayas, and all of them have leathery, leafy skin:

  1. Hylocereus undatus, also called “Pitaya blanca” or “white-fleshed pitaya” has pink-skinned fruit with white flesh. This is the “dragon fruit” you see most often.
  2. Selenicereus costaricensis, also called “Pitaya roja” or “red-fleshed pitaya” and sometimes called “Hylocereus polyrhizus” by mistake, has red-skinned fruit with red flesh.
  3. Selenicereus megalanthus, also called “yellow pitaya” or “Pitaya amarilla” or “Hylocereus megalanthus” has fruit with yellow skin and white flesh.

The fruit usually weighs between 150 and 600 grams (5.1/2 to 21 oz), but some can weigh up to 1 kg (2 lb 3 oz). Early plants brought to Australia from Colombia were called “Hylocereus ocampensis” or “Cereus repandus”, which means “red fruit” and “Cereus triangularis” (supposedly, the yellow fruit).


Pitahaya plant is a type of “climbing” cactus that can live for up to 20 years and does well in tropical lowlands.
The semi-prickly plant can have long, fleshy, triangular stem segments that should be cut back regularly. In commercial orchards, the vertical growth and aerial roots of the plants need to be supported by a trellising system.
Pitaya bears fruit in just one year, in the summer and fall (June to October). It can be picked 30–50 days after the fruit has formed.

As a night-blooming plant, it has fragrant yellowish-green flowers that open early in the evening and fall off by morning because of the light and temperature.

Dragon fruit variety evaluation chart (for cold hardiness & heat tolerance: 1 = low tolerance & 5 = high tolerance):

Variety / origin Color skin / flesh Cold hardinessHeat toleranceAvg. wt. (grams) Brix score Mkt wt / plant (grams)Days to harvest
Cebra (Nic.) R/R3.53.546815.75874646
Rosa (Nic.) R/R3.53.538416.05721745
Orejona (Nic.)R/R3.253.7543815.78459845
Lisa (Nic.)R/R3.75446517.021331944
Sin Espinas (Nic.)R/R2.252.7539316.5352743
San Ignacio (Nic.)R/R3.75455215.61271248
Mexicana (Mex.)P/W3.25349514.04916540
Colombiana (SD-Col.)Y/W11<20020.900150-180
Valdivia Roja (Mex.)R/R54.525017.9858840
Bien Hoa Red (SD)GR/F1.751.7536018.9147741
Bien Hoa White (SD) P/W2.52.538811.85739437
Delight (SD)R/PW33.537118.081493141
American Beauty (FL)GR/F2.752.538018.51556643
Haley’s Comet (FL)R/F4.54.2548216.7597938
Physical Graffiti (FL)R/R4.54.537417.932342940
Vietnamese Giant (FL)PR/W3.253.2533815.6651141
Yellow Dragon (FL-Col.)Y/W11<20021.150150-180
Seoul Kitchen (FL)PR/W4451812.181537941
Armando (Nic.)R/R44390.516.11488141
El Grullo (Mex.)R/R4.54.5489*16.11U/K40

The night-blooming flowers can be pollinated by both moths and bats, but some cultivars need to be pollinated by hand.
Plants like a warm, moist climate with rich soil. They are also can survive in dry conditions and often only need 25 to 50 inches of water per year.

But uneven soil moisture can cause less flowers or fruit to split, and too much rain can cause flowers to fall off and fruit to rot.

Plants like to have a lot of sunlight, but too much sun can hurt the stems if there is low humidity or not enough water in the soil. If there isn’t enough sun, the fruit might not be as good and there might be less of it.

Falling temperatures are also dangerous because plants don’t like being cold, but they can recover after a short time in freezing weather.

Most dragon fruit is picked between June and October, but in some places, the season can be extended by adding more light with incandescent bulbs.

When the plant gets more light, it keeps making flowers. Depending on the type of fruit, it is best to pick it by hand when it has good color, from yellow to pink to red.

Storage & Packaging

Chilling can easily hurt pitaya, which will wilt, turn brown, and get soft if it is exposed to temperatures between 41°F and 43°F.

Fruit should be kept in protective containers so that it doesn’t lose water and shrink.

Pitahaya doesn’t keep getting riper after it’s been picked; when properly cooled and stored, it can last up to 4 weeks. Fruit will last 4 to 5 days at room temperature.

The best temperature for storing red dragonfruit is 50°F, while the best temperature for storing yellow dragon fruit is 43°F. The best relative humidity is 85–90%.

A good pitaya will have a nice shape and bright colors. It will also have pulp and bracts.

Pests and diseases

Fungi, bacteria, a nematode, and a virus can all cause diseases in stems and fruits.

If there is too much water or rain, the flowers will die and the fruit will go bad. The stems rot because of a bacteria called Xanthomonas campestris. Fungi called Dothiorella can cause brown spots on fruit. Botryosphaeria dothidea, Colletotrichum gloeosporioides, and Bipolaris cactivora are some other fungi that are known to infect pitaya.

The leaf-footed bug can be a problem and is often found in Mexico, Colombia, and Nicaragua.

Aphids, ants, scale, and mealybugs can hurt production if they are not kept in check. Birds, snails, and rodents can also stop plants from growing and ruin the harvests that come after. Australia’s farmers use netting to keep birds away from fruit that is getting ready to be picked.

Stems can get soft rot, and a lack of calcium in Mexico has been linked to this condition getting worse. Other damage can happen to the root system when it is hurt in other ways, such as by sunburn or other diseases.

Cactus virus X can make the plant grow slower, with no new shoots or flowers, thicker, darker green stems, and a dull green color. There is no cure right now, so infected plants should be thrown away. There are also anthracnose, brown spot, canker, and fruit rot, which are all diseases and pathogens.

Where to Buy Dragon Fruit

Dragon fruit is available all year, but it’s best in the summer and lasts until early fall. Its gnarly skin makes it easy to find in any produce market, but not every grocery store will carry pitaya. If you can’t find it at your regular grocery store, try a specialty store or an Asian market.

Where you can get dragon fruit in USA: online stores or markets.

Summary or A Final Word on Why You Should Eat Dragon Fruit

Pitahaya is an exotic fruit that is healthy and tastes good. It can improve a person’s overall health. There are many health benefits to eating this fruit, from better control of blood sugar to more antioxidant activity.

To pick a ripe dragon fruit, look for a skin that is bright and even in color. A few spots on the skin are fine, but if there are a lot of them, the fruit may be too ripe. Try pressing the skin with your thumb or fingers while holding the dragonfruit in your hand. It should have some give, but not be too soft or mushy. If it’s very hard, it will need a few days to soften up.

Some people stick to what they know when it comes to fruit and never try anything new. But since there are so many kinds of fruits, trying them all is one of the best ways to find a new favorite. So try pitaya. It will be good for your body and taste buds.


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