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LEXICON

 

 

dragon fruit

Tropical, turnip-like fruit of some species of cactus (fig.), including several kinds of genus, such as the genus Hylocereus, Stenocereus and Selenicereus. The different varieties have either a pink peel and white flesh (the Vietnamese dragon fruit - fig.), a dark pink to red peel with red flesh (the red dragon fruit - fig.) or a yellow skin with white flesh (the yellow dragon fruit of the genus Selenicereus megalanthus), whilst a newly cultivated variety is the green dragon fruit, which resembles an unripe fruit. Whatever their colour, all have their flesh dotted with small black seeds. The fruit usually grows around fifteen to twenty centimeters in size and can weigh up to 1.5 kilograms. It has a slightly sweet taste, disputably comparable to that of the kiwi fruit. In Vietnam, the plant usually yields two harvest per year, one in spring and again in autumn. However, by exposing the plant to light during the night, an extra harvest of fruits can be gained. Thailand cultivates mainly Vietnamese and red dragon fruits. The plants first bear bright green flower buds with a purplish edge (fig.), that turn into yellow-white flowers (fig.), from which the fruits eventually develop. The red variety may also be harvested when still pink, when its taste is more sour rather than sweet, with an early harvest usually being the result of a higher market price for the product at any given time, rather than a preference to create sour fruits. They came to Thailand from Vietnam, where they are called trai thanh long. It is also generally known by the name pitaya and in China they are called huo long guo. In both Vietnamese and Chinese, the term long means dragon. In Thai, known as kaew mangkon and in Burmese as naga moutih.