Location: Tropical Crops and Germplasm ResearchTitle: Yield and fruit quality traits of dragon fruit lines and cultivars grown in Puerto Rico
Submitted to: American Society of Horticulture Science Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/6/2016
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Dragon fruit or pitahaya (Hylocereus undatus and Selenicereus megalanthus) is a member of the Cactaceae family and native to the tropical forest regions of Mexico, Central, and South America. The fruit was practically unknown 15 years ago but it occupies a growing niche in Europe’s exotic fruit market. The crop adapts to different ecological conditions ranging from very dry regions to wet ones receiving over 3,500 mm/year of rainfall. U.S. commercial production of dragon fruit occurs mainly in Southern California, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. As growers learn more about this crop and how productive it can be, the acreage planted will increase significantly. Twelve pitahaya lines and cultivars grown on an Oxisol soil were evaluated for four years under intensive management at Isabela, Puerto Rico. There were significant differences in number and weight of fruit per hectare between years. Lines and cultivars exhibited an increase in fruit number and yield from 2010 to 2013. This response was expected as plants increased in age. There were significant differences among lines and cultivars for number of fruit and yield per hectare. Lines N97-17, NOI-14, N97-15, and N97-22 produced significantly more fruit averaging 50,553 fruit/ha. Significantly higher fruit yield was obtained by lines N97-22, NOI-13, NOI-14, N97-17, and N97-15 averaging 15,266 kg/ha. Cultivar Cosmic Charlie had the lowest fruit yield averaging only 31 kg/ha. Individual fruit weight was significantly higher in line N97-20 with fruit weight averaging 488 g. Lines NOI-16, N97-15, N97-18 had significantly higher fruit soluble solids (Brix) than other cultivars averaging 17.4%. Some of the lines used in this study have shown horticultural potential and may serve as new selections for growers in the U.S. Continental and Insular areas. Research is still ongoing to collect additional data on yield as well as reaction to insect and disease pressure.