Dragon Fruit (Kamalam) – UPSC Prelims

  • Dragon Fruit: It is the fruit of a species of wild cactus indigenous to South and Central America, where it is called pitaya or pitahaya.
  • Largest Producer: The world’s largest producer and exporter of dragon fruit is, Vietnam. The Vietnamese call it “thanh long” which translates to “dragon’s eyes”.
  • Benefits of Dragon Fruit: 
    • Dragon fruit is considered to be one of the tropical superfoods due to its nutrient richness.
    • It is rich in nutrients and low in calories.
    • It is believed to help in the control of chronic illnesses, improves the health of the alimentary canal, and boosting the body’s immunity.
  • Dragon Fruit in India:
    • Being a cactus family it requires long days for flowering. Dragon fruit cultivation is well suited in the agro-climatic regions of Southern, Western, and North-Eastern India that are dry, and frost-free.
    • It was brought to India in the 1990s and is grown in Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Odisha, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, and Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
  • Why in news? Gujarat government has applied for a patent to change the nomenclature of dragon fruit to ‘Kamalam’. The word ‘Kamalam’ is a Sanskrit word and the shape of the dragon fruit resembles the lotus flower.
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