Dragon Fruit: Crop History, Nutritional Value and Uses

Dragon Fruit – Pitaya History

Dragon fruit is a vining epiphytic cactus known as Pitaya and is a super fruit indigenous to Central and South America. It is found on nearly every island in the Caribbean and is cultivated throughout the tropics.

In Mexico, the fruit is known by the Spanish name Pitahaya, which could also refer to several other species of cacti with flowering fruits. In Central America and Northern South America, it is known as Pitaya roja.

The fruit is now cultivated worldwide in over 20 tropical and sub-tropical countries such as Bahamas, Bermuda, Indonesia, Colombia, Israel, The Philippines, Myanmar, Malaysia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Northern Australia, Okinawa (Japan), Sri Lanka, Southern China, Southern Florida, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Bangladesh, and the West Indies. Some of the main reasons for the crop’s success are:

its commercial interest, not demanding cultivation requirements, i.e., high drought tolerance,  easy adaptation to light intensity and high temperature, a  wide range of tolerance to different soil salinities, and numerous benefits to human health.

Dragon fruit was introduced to Vietnam by the French over a hundred years ago. It is known as Thanh Long (green dragon) because the most common types of fruits are oval-shaped with bright red skin and green foliaceous scales resembling the dragon’s skin. In 2013, it was reported that Vietnam is the world’s leading exporter of dragon fruit, with revenues from dragon fruit making up 55 % of the country’s fruit export turnover and is the most profitable crop for Vietnamese farmers.

Nutritional Value and Uses of dragon fruit

Dragon Fruit is high in Vitamin C and other antioxidants, which are good for your immune system. The vitamin C in dragon fruit helps your body absorb and use iron.

100g (3.6 oz) of Dragon fruit contains:

  • Calories: 264 kcal
  • Fat : 0 gram
  • Protein: 3.57 grams
  • Fiber: 1.8 grams
  • Sugar: 82.14 grams
  • Vitamin C: 6.4 milligrams
  • Calcium: 107 milligrams

Importance of Dragon Fruit: The consumption of the fruit can help in:

  • lowering cholesterol
  •  management
  • fats and proteins
  • preventing arthritis
  • improving heart health
  • vitamins and minerals
  • fighting against aging
  • preventing asthma

However, excessive dragon fruit consumption can result in an overabundance of antioxidants, such as beta-carotene, which can contribute to lung cancer. A higher Vitamin E consumption also increases the risk of hemorrhagic stroke.

7 significant adverse side effects of eating excessive amounts of dragon fruits

  1. much dietary fibre is bad for the stomach
  2. may develop allergic reactions in some individuals
  3. problems when consumed during pregnancy and the nursing period
  4. may interfere with the functions of diabetes medications
  5. may cause hypotension
  6. may lead to weight gain

For the most part, dragon fruit is safe to eat and is perfect as an everyday snack.

This tropical plant can grow for over 7 to 8 years and produce fruit for over a decade. This exotic fruit tastes like a sweet earthly watermelon. It can be widely used in products like jams, ice cream, jelly production, beauty products, and wine.

In the Philippines, the dragon fruit is becoming a local favorite because it is deliciously unique and helps boost local communities, especially the livelihood of local farming. This fruit is overflowing with nutrients. The flowers and stems have a purpose too as a soap or medication that promotes blood circulation. Furthermore, the versatility of this plant is why it has become a favorite.


  1. https://doi.org/10.17221/139/2020-CJFS
  2. Rolf Blancke, Tropical Fruits and Other Edible plants of the world: An Illustrated Guide (New York: Comstock Publishing Associates, 2016) 129 (Call no. RSEA 634-6 BLA)
  3. Webmd.com/foodrecipes/benefit-dragon-fruit
  4. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/411576/nutrients

Dragon Fruit: Crop History, Nutritional Value and Uses

Dragon Fruit Plant Information and Environmental Requirements

Dragon Fruit Variety Selection

Soil Requirement and Land Preparation for Dragon Fruit

Dragon Fruit Planting Distances and Trellising

Dragon Fruit Pollination and Propagation

Dragon Fruit tree Training and Pruning

Dragon Fruit Water Requirement and Irrigation Systems

Dragon Fruit Fertilization

Dragon Fruit Plant Protection

Dragon Fruit Harvest and Storage

Packing, Selling and Export of Dragon Fruits


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