Exotic fruit thrives in island climate

Wednesday January 03, 2018 Written by Published in Local
Ngametua Turepu with a handful of the delicious dragon fruit she grows. 17122906 Ngametua Turepu with a handful of the delicious dragon fruit she grows. 17122906

Her plants are now in their fourth year of production and Rarotonga grower Ngametua Turepu says her dragon fruit crop is thriving.

 

“It was a family idea to import the plants to grow,” she says of the fruit that is just ripening now.

“The fruit will be available until about May next year.”

Apple coloured on the outside, soft and seeded and the colour of a tree tomato (tamarillo) on the inside, dragon fruit is similar in taste to kiwifruit but a little sweeter and milder. Spiked on the outside like an artichoke the fruit are high in vitamin C and antioxidants.

The fruit have adapted well to the tropical climate and are also flourishing on Palmerston, where flowers are hand pollinated because of the low numbers of bees and ants on the island. It is believed some cuttings are also being established in other northern islands.

The dragon fruit, or pitaya, is from the cactus species and is indigenous to America.

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