Origin and distribution
The dragon fruit’s scientific name is derived from the Greek word hyle (woody), the Latin word cereus (waxen) and the Latin word undatus, which refers to the wavy edges of its stems.
The origin of the dragon fruit is unknown, but it is probably native to Central America.
Dragon Fruit is also known as pitahaya in Mexico, and pitaya roja in Central America and northern South America.
The Spanish name pitahaya may also refer to several other species of tall cacti with flowering fruit.
The French introduced the fruit into Vietnam over a hundred years ago.
Family: Orders are divided into families, which consist of closely related plants that share more specific features. The family for dragon fruit is Cactaceae
Genus: Families are further subdivided into genera (plural of genus), which group together species that are very closely related and share a common ancestor. The genus name is capitalized and italicized (or underlined). Selenicereus or Hylocereus
Species: The species is the most specific level of classification and represents a group of plants that are very similar and can interbreed to produce fertile offspring. The species name is written in lowercase and italicized (or underlined)
- Common Name: Pitaya, Dragon fruit and strawberry pear.
For example: Maria Rosa Dragon Fruit is a hybrid variety that comes from Hylocereus undatus and Hylocereus guatemalensis.
You will find this written as H. undatus X H. guatemalensis.
Basic classification of dragon fruit scientific names-
Hylocereus undatus - This is one of the most widely cultivated species of dragon fruit. It is characterized by its white flesh and pink/red skin. It is often referred to as the "white-fleshed dragon fruit." The flower bud takes around 30 days to open and then another 30 days for dragon fruit to ripen.
Hylocereus costaricensis - Also known as the "Costa Rican pitaya" or "Costa Rican dragon fruit," this species typically has red flesh with pink/red skin. It is sometimes called the "red-fleshed dragon fruit." Typically the flower bud takes around 30 days to open and then another 30 days for dragon fruit to ripen.
Hylocereus megalanthus - Commonly called the "yellow dragon fruit" or "yellow pitaya," this species has yellow skin and white flesh. It is less common than the red and white varieties. Some of the fruit has thorns on the fruit. They typically take longer for fruit to ripen around 90 days from flowering.
Selenicereus spp. - Some dragon fruits come from the genus Selenicereus. While they are less common in cultivation, they are still part of the dragon fruit family. The queen of the night is the common name. originated from the Antilles, Mexico, and Central America region, where it is found growing up trees and rocks.
In addition to these primary species, there are various hybrids and cultivars that may exhibit different fruit colors and flavours.
For example, some dragon fruits have pink or purple flesh, and there are even hybrid varieties developed to enhance flavor, appearance, and yield.
The have also been breed for commercial qualities size, skin thickness and shelf life.
It's important to note that the scientific classification of dragon fruit species may evolve as botanists conduct more research and make new discoveries.
Dragon fruit is a popular fruit in many parts of the world due to its unique appearance and mild, sweet taste, and it has gained popularity for its potential health benefits.