Dragon Fruit Production

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Dragon fruit Production in Palawan: An Assessment of Its Potential for Agricultural Production in Palawan

Background
Dragon fruit is the fruit of several cactus species. These fruit are also known as pitaya, native to Mexico and Central America; Growing Dragon fruit commercially is common in places like Thailand and Vietnam where the climate makes the dragon fruit conditions just right for growing dragon fruit cactus all the way successfully to fruit. There are most commonly cultivated varieties of dragon fruit, red dragon fruit with red flesh and red skin, dragon fruit with yellow skin and white flesh, and red skin and white flesh. All dragon fruit varieties have the flesh or dragon fruit pulp filled with lots of tiny black seeds which are edible with the fruit. Dragon fruit is a seasonal type. These fruit mostly available around August to November. The health benefits of dragon fruit cactus fruit are many and varied. These dragon fruit nutritional benefits include helps to lower blood glucose level in type 2 diabetes. Dragon fruit health benefits and the great dragon fruit nutrition benefits make the dragon fruit cactus fruit popular all over the world. Dragon fruit vitamin C and dietary fiber are both positive nutritional benefits of dragon fruit among others. It has no dragon fruit cholesterol and very little cholesterol causing fats (fats are in the dragon fruit seeds). Plants in the cactus family, Cactaceae, originated in North, Central, and South America. They are widely distributed, from coastal areas, to high mountains, and in tropical rainforests. Their appearance is just variable, from thimble-size species to enormous column species, and the epiphytic (climbing) species. The cactus families are highly adaptable to a new environment. The plants are able to tolerate drought, heat, poor soil, and cold. The modification of the stem for water storage, the reduction or absence of leaves, the waxy surface, and the night opening of the tissue for carbon dioxide uptake ( CAM process), enable the plants to tolerate harsh conditions. Terms used to describe plants with such adaptations include xerophytes and succulent. These adaptations to survive dry, hot conditions, apply to the above-ground plant. The roots are not succulent and require small amount of water and cooler temperatures. Cacti will not tolerate saline or water-logged conditions, nor will they grow where there is an absence of plant life. In their native lands, the plants were used for many purposes, but one of major importance is the fruit as a food source. Fruits were collected from naturally established stands. Later, cutting were taken highly productive plants and grown around houses. A similar process is now in place several countries around the world to establish plantations of cacti with edible fruit, from column, shrubby and climbing types. Epiphytic or climbing cacti use their adventitious roots from the stem to cling to rocks and trees for support. These roots do not feed the host plant. The aerial roots collect water and nutrients from their surroundings, enabling the plant to survive if the base is severed. These features also allow the plant to be successfully grown from cutting.

Hylocereus undatus, a climbing cactus thought to be from tropical rainforests of Central and northern South America, is one species that has been used as a food source. It has already received worldwide recognition as an ornamental plant for the large, scented, bight-blooming flowers. Its fame is now spreading throughout the world for its fruit, especially in Vietnam and Australia. Other climbing cactus species grown for the edible fruit include Hylocereus polyrhizus and Selenicereus megalanthus. H. polyrhizus has red skin and red flesh dotted with edible black seeds, while S. megalanthus, the pitaya amarillo or yellow pitaya, has yellow skin and clear to white flesh containing edible black seeds. Columnar cacti, such as Cereus peruvianus – the apple...
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