The exotic Dragon Fruit (Hylocereus spp) and Peruvian Apple Cactus (Cereus Peruvianus) both produce delicious fruit. But which is better and how are they different?
This quick article is a side by side comparison of the similarities and differences of these two unique but tasty treats. My friend Jessie has never tried either fruit and as an added bonus she has graciously volunteered to be an objective taste tester (see tasting video further below in the article).
Differences: (between Dragon Fruit and Peruvian Apple Cactus)
- Dragon Fruit look amazing with its numerous prehistoric looking wings extending from the surface while Apple Cactus have a smooth skin and are generally smaller in size. When ripe, Dragon fruit turn a deep red color. Apple Cactus skin on the other hand turn more of a bright reddish pink or orange when ripe.
- Different varieties of dragon fruit flesh can range in color from white, pink, to psychedelic deep purple with black speckles. However, as far as I am aware, Apple Cactus flesh is only white with black specks.
- Dragon Fruit have a delightfully smooth but firm texture that is also amazingly juicy and melting. Apple Cactus on the other hand has a nearly crystalline texture similar to shaved ice that is also miraculously melting.
- Although each variety of dragon fruit taste subtly different, they all have a unique tropical fruity flavor. Apple cactus on the other hand have a more mild flavor that is reminiscent of sugarcane.
- Dragon Fruit Cactus are epiphytic tropical vines… So yea, these plants grow on the support of other trees… weird right. Cereus Peruvianus on the other hand looks more like a typical columnar cactus.
- Dragon fruit thrive in a tropical-to subtropical jungle like environment. Cereus spp also require more water than a typical cactus, and thrive in frost free open-forest like conditions.
Similarities: (between Dragon Fruit and Peruvian Apple Cactus)
- Both fruit have relatively thick skin that peals away from the flesh easily.
- The flesh of both fruit is nearly uniform in color and speckled with numerous small black seeds.
- The delightfully dense texture of both the Dragon Fruit and Peruvian Apple Cactus seem to defy physics. They are initially firm but then quickly melting and amazingly juicy.
- Both fruit are mildly sweet and not at all sour or tart.
- Both Hylocereus spp and Cereus peruvianus are cacti, and both should not be treated like your average cactus. Although both of these plants have thorns, the barbs are few and small. There are no thorns on the fruit. Both plants have similar appearing huge beautiful flowers that only bloom at night… and the flowers only last one day before wilting.
Below is a video recording of a side by side comparison of Dragon Fruit (Hylocereus spp) and Peruvian Apple Cactus (Cereus Peruvianus). My great friend Jessie has volunteered as an objective taste tester and has never tried either fruit before the video.
For detailed info on how to grow these awesome plants/fruit, just follow the links below to some of my earlier articles: