|Purple Dragon Fruit / Hylocereus polyrhizus
Who knew there was a plant with a flower like an explosion of flame, which produces a beautiful but short-lived fruit with the appearance of a brilliant pink rosebud? This is the pitya – dragon fruit – indigenous to Central America but is also grown and exported from several Southeast Asian countries, such as Thailand and Vietnam. Obtained from several cactus species, its succulent stem provides the uniquely delicious fruit with moisture in the arid climates where it grows.
Some dragon fruits have red or yellow skin (which looks a little like a soft pineapple with spikes) and white or red flesh, but always the beginnings of overlaid leaves, similar to an artichoke, and an abundance of small, black, edible seeds. The flavor is mildly sweet, like a blend of kiwi and pear, and it has a crunchy texture.
1. Sow the dragon fruit seeds evenly over the surface of the medium.
2. Sprinkle a very light layer of germinating medium over the seeds, using just enough to barely cover the seeds.
3. Mist the seeds and medium gently but thoroughly at the time of sowing and whenever the medium is dry to the touch prior to germination.
4. Cover the flat or other container with a glass or plastic lid or enclose it in a polyethylene or plastic bag to help maintain a high level of humidity around the seeds and minimize the need for misting.
5. Place the flat or other container with seeds in a spot that receives bright but indirect light and has a temperature between about 65 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The seeds should germinate within 14 to 28 days. Remove any plastic, glass or polyethylene covering once germination occurs and allow the medium surface to dry out slightly between waterings.