DRAGON FRUIT–Basking in Abundance: Dragon Fruit, Queen of the Night and the Summer Solstice

lola photo(2) photo(4)What do Dragon Fruit (Pitaya), Queen of the Night (Night Blooming Cereus) and the Summer Solstice have in common? The fruit, the flower and this cycle in seasons are all powerful reminders that we are basking in abundance at this time of year. The ripeness of Summer has arrived. The longest day of the year…the fullness of the Light…is here. The fragrant blossoms die and the sweet fruits form in lusciousness.

This is a short story of the dragon fruit and its blossom which grow on the snake cactus here at Lokahi Garden Sanctuary. When you encounter the fully open blossom of the night blooming cereus, you are likely to gasp in astonishment and delight at the luminous, exotic, and erotic beauty of this flower. This flower opens only at night and wilts by morning. The natural pollinators are a nocturnal large moth or bat which are not present in Hawaii (as far I as know).
We pollinate by hand at night using a paint brush. My husband tells people I put on a fairy costume to go out and pollinate. I do feel magic in the presence of these magnificent flowers. And the look and taste of the dragon fruit is wonderful and unusual too.

Below is some nutritional information:
a good source of vitamin C especially the red skinned dragon fruit
rich in fiber and minerals, notably phosphorus and calcium. Red pitayas seem to be richer in phosphorus, yellow ones in calcium.
seeds are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, and in particular Red pitayas contain very little saturated fats.
antioxidants are present in significant amount.
diabetics use the fruit as a source of dietary fiber and inulin.

The outside of the fruit is a mix of rich pink and greens that resemble dragon scales. The inside of the fruit can be different colors…white, pink or a magnificent rich magenta color…all flecked with tiny black seeds similar to a kiwi fruit. It has a mild refreshing sweetness.

The growing, pollinating, harvesting and eating the dragon fruit is an intense and satisfying experience.

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