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Family Cactaceae
Dragon fruit
Hylocereus undatus (Haw.) Britt. & Rose
STRAWBERRY PEAR

Huo long guo

Other scientific names Common names
Hylocereus undatus (Haw.) Britt. & Rose Dragon fruit (Engl.)
Cereus undatus Strawberry pear (Engl.)
Cereus tricostatus Queen-of-the-night cactus (Engl.)
Hylocereus tricostatus Nightblooming cactus (Engl.)
  Fire dragon fruit (Engl.)
  Pitahaya (Engl.)
  Red pitaya (Engl.)
  Nightblooming cereus (Engl.)
  Zunlongguo (Chin.)
  Huo long guo (Chin.)
  Reina de la noche (Span.)

Gen info
Genus of comes from the Gree words: hyle (wood) and cereus (cactus).

Botany
A vining, terrestrial or epiphytic cactus with succulent three-winged, green stems, reaching up to 20 feet long. Wings are up to 50 mm wide with modulate margins, spine are 1 mm long. Plant may climb trees via aerial roots. Flowers are fragrant, white, up to 35 cm long, blooming at night. Fruit is round, red, pink or yellow, with prominent scales.

Distribution
Introduced.
Probably from Mexico.
Ornamental cultivation in tropical regions.

Constituents
Rich in vitamin C, phosphorus and calcium.
Air-dried, powdered stems contain B-sitosterol.


Parts used and preparation
Fruit

Uses
Edibility / Culinary
Fruit is edible; refreshing, slightly sweet, with a similarity to Kiwi fruit.
Eaten raw, as fresh fruit.
Used in fruit salads.
Can be processed into various products such as: juices, sherbets, jam, syrup, ice cream, yogurt, jelly, candy and pastries.
Flower buds can be used to make soup or mixed in salads; also, eaten as vegetable.
Tea sometimes made from the flowers.
Folkloric
No known medicinal folkloric use in the Philippines.
Elsewhere, red fruit used to prevent colon cancer, for diabetis, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
Sap of stems used as vermifuge, but said to be caustic and hazardours.
Others
Coloring: Red and pink pulp can be source of food coloring agent.

Studies
Wound Healing:
In streptozotocin diabetic rats, where wound healing is delayed, topical applications of H. undatus showed woundhealing effects with increases in hydroxyproline, tensile strength, total proteins, DNA collagen content and better epithelization.
Antioxidant / Decrease Aortic Stiffness: Study of the aqueous extract of the fruit pulp of H. undatus in stretozotocin-induced diabetic rats showed it was effective in controlling oxidative damage and decreasing aortic stiffness.
Betacyanins / Food Coloring: Study indicate an immense potential for development of natural food colorants from the fruit peel of Dragon fruit, with a longer shelf life than that of beet juice

Availability
Ornamental cultivation.
Commercial fruit crop.
Plants and seeds in the cybermarket.

Last Update June 2010

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
(1)
Wound healing properties of Hylocereus undatus on diabetic rats / R. M. Perez G et al / Phytotherapy Research, Volume 19 Issue 8, Pages 665 - 668 / Published Online: 21 Sep 2005
(2)
Hylocereus undatus/ Dragon Fruit / H P M Gunasena, DKNG Pushpakumara et al /
(3)
Effect of dragon fruit extract on oxidative stress and aortic stiffness in streptozotocin-induced diabetes in rats / Kolla R L Anand Swarup et al / Pharmacognosy Research / Year : 2010 | Volume : 2 | Issue : 1 | Page : 31-35
(4)
BETACYANINS FROM HYLOCEREUS UNDATUS AS NATURAL FOOD COLORANTS / Lim Tze Han / Thesis / Master of Science / 2004
(5)
Strawberry Pear / Hylocereus undatus / Morton, J. 1987. Strawberry Pear. p. 347–348.


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