Top Dragon Fruit Varieties: A Comprehensive Guide

Explore the enchanting world of dragon fruits! These tropical gems, also called pitaya, are not only eye-catching but also super healthy. They come in various types, and in this guide, we’ll help you find the perfect one for your taste. From aiding digestion to boosting your immune system, dragon fruits are a treasure trove of goodness. Let’s dive into the top dragon fruit varieties loved by fruit fans worldwide.

Split dragon fruit on a plate, highlighting the white flesh and seeds of this variety.

What is Dragon Fruit?

These fruits are commonly called “dragon fruit” in English, a name given in 1963 due to their tough, scaly exterior resembling dragon scales. They are often referred to as “Vietnamese dragon fruit” because Vietnam is the top exporter. This fruit may also be known as a “strawberry pear.”

The names “pitahaya” and “pitaya” originate from Mexico, while “pitaya roja” is used in Central America and northern South America, possibly linked to “pitahaya” for tall cacti species with flowering fruit.

Dragon Fruit’s Versatile Uses

The fruit’s texture, often compared to that of kiwifruit, is characterized by its crunchy black seeds. The seeds contain valuable fatty acids like linoleic acid and linolenic acid.

Culinary Delights

Dragon fruit is a popular choice for flavoring and coloring various beverages, including “Dragon’s Blood Punch” and the “Dragotini.” Additionally, the flowers of the dragon fruit can be consumed or used to make tea.

Colorful Pigments

In certain Selenicereus fruits, the vibrant red and purple hues result from betacyanins, a pigment family that includes betanin. This is the same pigment responsible for the red color of beets, Swiss chard, and amaranth.

Top Dragon Fruit Varieties

1. Yellow Dragon 

Often referred to as the “Golden Dragon,” the Yellow Dragon fruit variety is a true delight for the taste buds. Its yellow or golden skin captures the essence of tropical sunshine, while its sweet, juicy flesh provides a burst of flavor with every bite. The Yellow Dragon variety, with its rich taste and smooth texture, makes it a perfect addition to fruit salads, smoothies, or even as a standalone snack.

2. American Beauty 

One of the most popular dragon fruit plants is the American Beauty variety. Known for its vibrant pink or red skin, this variety stands out from the rest. The American Beauty dragon fruit tree has a sweet and refreshing taste, making it a favorite among fruit enthusiasts. Its stunning appearance and delicious flavor make it an excellent choice for garnishing desserts, creating visually appealing fruit platters, or simply enjoying it on its own.

3. Physical Graffiti

Prepare to be mesmerized by the Physical Graffiti dragon fruit variety! Aptly named after the iconic Led Zeppelin album cover of the same name, this dragon fruit tree variety is a work of art. With its hot pink and green skin, reminiscent of street art, this variety adds a pop of color to any dish it graces. The Physical Graffiti plant dragon fruit has a subtly sweet taste and a creamy, smooth texture, making it an absolute delight to consume. Whether incorporated into smoothies or sliced and eaten as is, the Physical Graffiti variety is sure to leave a lasting impression.

4. Exotic Red Skin Dragon 

Under its fiery red exterior lies a taste experience like no other. The Red Skin Dragon fruit variety boasts a vibrant red or magenta skin that captures attention instantly. Cutting through the captivating hues reveals a sweet, mild flavor that is simply irresistible. This variety is perfect for incorporating fruit salads, creating eye-catching desserts, or satisfying cravings for an exotic, tropical fruit.

5. The White Flesh Dragon Fruit 

A twist on the traditional plant dragon fruit variety, the White Flesh dragon fruit captivates with its unique appearance. Unlike its purple-fleshed counterparts, this variety boasts striking white flesh that contrasts beautifully with its vibrant pink or yellow skin. With a subtle sweetness and a hint of tanginess, the White Flesh Dragon fruit variety offers a delightful flavor profile. Its exceptional taste makes it an excellent choice for smoothies, sorbets, or even grilled recipes.

6. Sweet Pink Dragon Fruit

Combining the best qualities of the Red and White Flesh varieties, the Sweet Pink Dragon fruit is a true winner. This variety showcases a beautiful pink or magenta flesh that is both visually stunning and deliciously enticing. With a perfect balance of sweetness and acidity, the Sweet Pink Dragon fruit is a versatile choice for a wide range of recipes. From refreshing cocktails to fruit pizzas, this variety truly offers the best of both worlds.

7. Dark Star

‘Dark Star,’ a pitaya cultivar, is a hybrid resulting from the cross between S. guatemalensis and S. undatus. It features dark pink skin and elongated, slender bracts that enfold purple flesh. The flesh of ‘Dark Star’ offers a delightful flavor with hints of grapes, boasting a sweet profile with a Brix score of 19. These pitayas come in medium to large sizes, ranging from three-quarters of a pound to one and a half pounds. To set fruit, ‘Dark Star’ plants require cross-pollination, as they are self-sterile. These plants exhibit rapid growth and high productivity.

8. Lisa