Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The pitaya, also known as dragonfruit or dragon pearl is the fruit of a pitaya cactus. Native to Central and South America, the vine-like cactus is also cultivated in Southeastern Asian countries such as Malaysia, Taiwan, and Vietnam. The fruit comes in three types all with leathery, slightly leafy skin:
- Hylocereus undatus, white flesh with pink skin
- Hylocereus polyrhizus, red flesh with pink skin
- Selenicereus megalanthus, white flesh with yellow skin
Sesame-sized seeds are embedded throughout the flesh.
The flesh, which is eaten raw, is bland, mildly sweet and low in calories. The flavor is sometimes likened to that of the kiwifruit. The fruit may be converted into juice or wine; the flowers can be eaten or steeped as tea. Although the tiny pitaya seeds are eaten with the flesh, the seeds are indigestible.
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