Fresh dragonfruit from Vietnam, seen at an Asian market on Clement Street in San Francisco’s Richmond district. I just read up about this fruit, and thought I’d share the highlights. According to Wikipedia, it is also known as “pitaya” and is called “thanh long” in Vietnamese, which means “sweet dragon.” Since I usually only see it in Asian markets, I was surprised to learn that it is the fruit of a cactus native to Mexico and Central America. Or, as the New York Times put it in their 2011 article about the fruit’s increasing popularity, “dragon fruit sprouts like an exotic hood ornament from the arms of a cactus.” The blossoms that precede the fruit are called “moonflowers” or “queen of the night,” because they bloom only after dark.
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I have a dragonfruit cactus here at home, though it is a baby. I did not realize that it is also Queen of the Night, which I thought was genus Cereus. It seems rather confusing. Maybe if you are very well-behaved, I will bring you a cutting when I come out!