The pitaya (pitahaya) fruit is a tropical jungle cactus vine that can grow in soil or on tree bark like the orchid. This cactus originated in Central America and subsequently the plant has been cultivated in various parts of the world and especially in Vietnam over the last 100 years. To grow a commercial crop is a challenge because the cactus can get sunburnt and frost damaged. The plant propagates easily from stem cuttings. The flowers are huge and cross pollination is often required for the fruit.
Sometimes even called the “dragon fruit” it is a bit like the kiwi and can weigh up to 3 pounds.
With its fuchsia-pink skin and scales, this pitaya fruit is in fact a cactus fruit and so unlike any other fruit in appearance. Cut it in half to reveal the opaque white or red to purple flesh dotted with small black seeds which look like black sesame seeds.
Besides the fruit, its flowers and leaves are also edible when cooked. Its flower in full bloom is like a beautiful ornamental orchid cactus that blooms only on the 1st and 15th day of the lunar calendar. With a lovely fragrance, the flower is so beautiful that it is sometimes nicknamed