- San Diego Zoo
Bloom time (approximate):
- August or September
Dragon Fruit, Night-blooming Cereus, Strawberry Pear, Pitahaya Hylocereus undatus
FAMILY: CACTACEAE (Cactus Family)
One plant, lots of names! The enormous, fragrant white flowers and triangular growth give Hylocereus undatus one of its common names, the night-blooming cereus. Individual flowers are 14 inches (35 centimeters) long by 12 inches (30 centimeters) across! Sadly, each spectacular bloom only lasts a day or so.
These nocturnal bloomers need lots of room to reach flowering size. If pollinated, they produce edible red fruits up to 5 inches (12 centimeters) long. The ripe fruit's pulp tastes like a mix of strawberries and pears, so the plant is often called the strawberry pear. The tasty pulp can be eaten with a spoon, like the popular kiwi fruit, or turned into a type of syrup used to color candy. Like most members of the cactus family, it needs to be handled with care as the fruit has sharp spines, hence another popular name for this interesting species: dragon fruit!