We have recently published ‘Food Forest Plants for Hotter Conditions’: i.e. tropical and sub-tropical regions. We rely on regular donations to keep our free database going and help fund development of this and another book we are planning on food forest plants for Mediterranean climates. Please give what you can to keep PFAF properly funded. More >>>

Follow Us:


Hylocereus undatus - (Haw.) Britton & Rose

Common Name Dragon Fruit, Red Pitaya
Family Cactaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling
Habitats An epiphytic or terrestrial plant, growing in thickets, hedges, on rocks or rock walls, at elevations up to 2,000 metres[335 ].
Range Central America - Mexico southwards, also in the West Indies.
Edibility Rating    (4 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Well drained soil Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Hylocereus undatus Dragon Fruit, Red Pitaya

Bùi Thy Ðào Nguyên wikimedia
Hylocereus undatus Dragon Fruit, Red Pitaya
T.Voekler wikimedia


Translate this page:


Other common names include Red Pitaya, Strawberry Pear, Night Blooming Cereus, Queen of the Night, and Honolulu Queen. Hylocereus undatus or commonly known as Dragon Fruit is a climbing cactus or succulent shrub with triangular stalks that can be up to 7 m long. It produces aerial roots enabling it to climb and support itself. It is widely cultivated for its edible fruit with a sweet and pleasant flavor. The fruit is red, 7-12 cm long, and covered in prominent scales. The flowers are white but yellowish-green on the outside and open at night. The plant is also used as an ornamental plant. It is fast growing and can be grown in semi-shade or full sun.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
Hylocereus undatus is an evergreen Shrub growing to 4 m (13ft) by 2 m (6ft) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10. The flowers are pollinated by Bats.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid and neutral soils and can grow in very acid soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Cereus tricostatus Gosselin Cereus undatus Haw. Hylocereus guatemalensis (Weing.) Britton & Rose Hyl

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Fruit - raw or cooked[335 ]. Delicious[317 ]. A sweet, pleasant flavour[335 ]. The red fruit is 7 - 12cm long, covered in prominent scales[335 ]. Unopened flower buds can be cooked and eaten as a vegetable[377 ].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

None known

References   More on Medicinal Uses

The Bookshop: Edible Plant Books

Our Latest books on Perennial Plants For Food Forests and Permaculture Gardens in paperback or digital formats.

Food Forest Plants for Hotter Conditions: 250+ Plants For Tropical Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.
Edible Tropical Plants

Food Forest Plants for Hotter Conditions: 250+ Plants For Tropical Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.

Plants for Your Food Forest: 500 Plants for Temperate Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.
Edible Temperate Plants

Plants for Your Food Forest: 500 Plants for Temperate Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.

PFAF have eight books available in paperback and digital media.
More Books

PFAF have eight books available in paperback and digital formats. Browse the shop for more information.

Shop Now

Other Uses


Agroforestry Uses: The plant can be used to make a beautiful flowering hedge[317 ]. Other Uses: None known

Special Uses

Food Forest  Hedge

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

A plant of the warm tropical lowlands with low to high rainfall[335 ]. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 18 - 28c, but can tolerate 12 - 34c[418 ]. It succeeds with a mean annual rainfall in the range 300 - 3,500mm[418 ]. Often an epiphytic plant, though it also grows on the ground. Requires a well-drained soil and a pH of 6 or lower[200 ]. Prefers a pH in the range 5.3 - 6.7, tolerating 5 - 7.5[418 ]. Widely cultivated in the tropics and subtropics, it has often escaped from cultivation and become naturalised. It has been classified as 'invasive' in some areas, where it often spreads vegetatively[305 ]. Plants grow well, but do not always set fruit well, when growing in the wetter areas of the tropics[377 ]. They can have 4-6 fruiting cycles per year. Flowering Time: Late Summer/Early Fall. Bloom Color: Green White/Near White. Spacing: 12-15 in. (30-38 cm).

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

Type a value in the Celsius field to convert the value to Fahrenheit:



The PFAF Bookshop

Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees,Edible Shrubs, Woodland Gardening, and Temperate Food Forest Plants. Our new book is Food Forest Plants For Hotter Conditions (Tropical and Sub-Tropical).

Shop Now

Plant Propagation

Seed - Stem cuttings. The cuttings are usually dried out for a week or two. The plants are self sterile and have to be pollinated by bats and moths. Hand pollination is recommended for good fruit production.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Dragon Fruit, Red Pitaya, Strawberry Pear, Night blooming Cereus, Queen of the Night, Honolulu Queen, Chacam, Chak-wob, Flor de caliz, Junco tapatio, Night blooming cereus, Pitahaya, Pitaia-branca, Pitaia-vermelha, Pitaya orejona, Pitaya, Pratiel puehs, Queen of the night, Reina de la noche, Strawberry pear, Tasajo, Thang loy, Zacamb,

Native Plant Search

Search over 900 plants ideal for food forests and permaculture gardens. Filter to search native plants to your area. The plants selected are the plants in our book 'Plants For Your Food Forest: 500 Plants for Temperate Food Forests and Permaculture Gardens, as well as plants chosen for our forthcoming related books for Tropical/Hot Wet Climates and Mediterranean/Hot Dry Climates. Native Plant Search

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Anguilla; Antigua and Barbuda; Aruba; Bahamas; Barbados; Belize; Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba; Cayman Islands; Costa Rica; Cuba; Curaçao; Dominica; Dominican Republic; Grenada; Guadeloupe; Haiti; Honduras; Jamaica; Martinique; Montserrat; Nicaragua; Panama; Saint Kitts and Nevis; Saint Lucia; Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; Sint Maarten (Dutch part); Trinidad and Tobago; Turks and Caicos Islands; United States; Virgin Islands, British; Virgin Islands, U.S.; Brazil, Africa, Asia, Australia, Bahamas, Belize, Bermuda, Brazil, Cambodia, Central America, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, East Africa, El Salvador, Guatemala, Hawaii, Indochina, Israel, Jamaica, Mexico*, Mozambique, Nauru, Nicaragua, North America, Pacific, SE Asia, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South America, USA, Vietnam, West Indies,

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : Status: Data Deficient

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Hylocereus megalanthusYellow PitayaShrub2.0 10-12 FLMHNDM432

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


Expert comment


(Haw.) Britton & Rose

Botanical References


Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

Readers comment

Add a comment

If you have important information about this plant that may help other users please add a comment or link below. Only comments or links that are felt to be directly relevant to a plant will be included. If you think a comment/link or information contained on this page is inaccurate or misleading we would welcome your feedback at [email protected]. If you have questions about a plant please use the Forum on this website as we do not have the resources to answer questions ourselves.

* Please note: the comments by website users are not necessarily those held by PFAF and may give misleading or inaccurate information.

To leave a comment please Register or login here All comments need to be approved so will not appear immediately.

Subject : Hylocereus undatus  
© 2010, Plants For A Future. Plants For A Future is a charitable company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales. Charity No. 1057719, Company No. 3204567.