This sprawling and clambering terrestrial or epiphytic cactus is a late bloomer.... literally. Known for its magnificent nocturnal flowers, Hylocereus undatus makes up for in blooms what it lacks in leaves. June through October is when it puts on its show, with the flowers beginning to open in the late afternoon, and wilting as day breaks. They truly are splendid - twenty-five or so centimeters of fragrant, creamy white petals with a yellow center. It has as many common names as it petals: panini o kapunahou, queen of the night, pitahaya, pitaya, dragon fruit, and strawberry pear for starters. It is widespread through Mexico, the West Indies, Central and South America, and is in cultivation worldwide. The story is that it was brought to Honolulu by Charles Brewer, the first mate on the Ivanhoe, who had picked it from Mexico en route to Hawaii. He gave a cutting of it to Sybil Bingham, who planted it around the Punahou campus in the 1830's. Today the hedge on the lava rock wall of the campus is over three hundred meters long, and brings many admirers when it blossoms.
Hylocereus undatus produces a fruit that rivals its flower for beauty. It features red bracteoles tipped in green, and a white center studded with many small black seeds. The ones at Punahou are a bit smaller than those you'll find in the market, and some have a redder center. The flavor is mild and slightly sweet.
welcomes you to visit with the all the wonderful flora and fauna that we share this lovely aina with.