Recently, Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani renamed dragon fruit as "KAMALAM" owing to the pink colour of fruit and it's distinctive spikes or petals.
Writer: Meghana DP
Dragon Fruit or pitaya, native to region of South western US and Mexico. Scientifically called as Hylocereus undulatus belonging to family of cactaceae. Botanically, Pitaya is an epiphytic heliophilic (sunloving) succulent plant. So, plant climbs up trees by attaching it's roots to trees only to get support not for absorption of nutrients from trees (not parasitic) and also more importantly to get enough sunlight for its good growth.
Fruits has good amount of nutrients like vitamin C, phosphorous and iron. It has very less fat content and more in oxalate and flavonoids. Some kinds of dragon fruit has anthocyanin pigments too.
Dragon fruit has medicinal use also. It has a substance called captin which is used for making cardiac tonic, stimulant of the nervous system and in preparation of laxatives.
It has ornamental look. The entire plant climbs on the support which is having green succulent stem, bearing large white or pink flowers with red or purple fruits hanging from plant. So, it is also called as strawberry pear. In fact it renders aesthetic pleasure to viewers.
Usually flowers bloom at night so it is also called as king of the night, night blooming cereus or Belle of the night.
It also have many trivial names hailing from its characteristics like Cinderella plant, Jesus of the cradle, pitahaya etc.
Having seen all these growers from different states are showing interest to grow dragon fruit since few years. Hence desserts, juice, salads , smoothies of dragonfruit is also available in many places.
Dragon fruit is called as than long which means dragon eyes in English has become popular. But recently, Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani renamed dragon fruit as "KAMALAM" owing to the pink colour of fruit and it's distinctive spikes or petals.
ICAR proposed that, for nomenclature of any species is very important to get approval from Botanical Survey of India and the National Biodiversity Authority under the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change to avoid litigation from international nomenclature official annals as it is not a native of India.
©Meghana D P, MSc (Agri), Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, Punjab