An Ugly Plant but such a Delicious Fruit

Debbie Centeno
Photo by Any Lane from Pexels

Unwanted Visitor

A few years ago, my mother gave me a plant that she could no longer keep. It was growing too big and climbing up the walls of her apartment complex. I accepted the plant and brought it home. Mother potted it in a 12-inch green planter. It’s an ugly cactus-type plant with large limbs that look like tentacles that attach themselves to whatever is nearby. I placed the plant at the very back of our yard out of my sight.

One day, while working in the yard, I looked at the plant and thought of throwing it away. It was ugly, and the limbs are dangling everywhere. I did not know what to do with the plant. In fact, I don’t even know why on Earth I accepted to bring it home. I figured that I should at least let my mother know I did not want the plant, so I left it until I spoke with her.

What a Pleasant Surprise

Later that day, while browsing through Facebook, I came across an article on a Dragon Fruit plant. The article caught my attention because the plant in the photo looked a lot like my ugly plant with tentacles.

It Had a Name and a Story to It!

It is called Dragon Fruit. It is an exotic fruit that is difficult to find and expensive. An Asian legend says, “The Dragon Fruit was created thousands of years ago by a dragon in battle. During the battle, a dragon blew a burst of fire containing the fruit. The Asians believed that those who consumed the pulp of the dragon fruit gained the strength and immortality of the dragon. The health benefits and delicious flavor of this exotic fruit are legendary. Dragon Fruit plants are easy to grow in containers as long as you provide a strong support structure. Dragon Fruit offers excellent nutritional and health benefits. The fruit is packed with high concentrations of antioxidants that boost the immune system.”

I Had a Newfound Respect for My Ugly Plant

After learning about the Dragon Fruit plant, I kept it and changed the container. I re-potted the plant into a larger 22-inch container and had my husband build a trellis for it. From that moment on, I cared for it differently. I was curious about the fruit. I had never seen the fruit before, let alone tasted it until my trip to Spain. While in Barcelona, we visited the “La Boquería” market, which is known as one of the best markets in the world. While strolling through the aisles of fresh fish, meat, vegetables, and fruits, there it was, fresh-cut Dragon Fruit ready to eat! Of course, I had to taste this exotic fruit I had the privilege to own in my backyard. After trying it, I was glad I kept the plant. The fruit was delicious and refreshing. What a delight.

The Blooms are In!

Fast forward a few months later, I saw my Dragon Fruit tree was blooming. I waited anxiously for the flower to open. Then one night I glanced towards the Dragon Fruit tree, and it had the most beautiful big white flower. It turns out that the Dragon Fruit tree will open its flower during the night. I only saw it open for two nights, though. I’m not sure how long had it been serenading the night with its beautiful blooms before I noticed it. Right above the flower was a bump where the fruit grows. Every day it became larger and started ripening from a beautiful green to a bright pinkish-red. And every day I checked to see if it was ready to harvest.

Harvest Time is Here!

The day finally arrived when the Dragon Fruit was ready to be picked. It was soft, so I tucked on it a few times, and it came right off. I rinsed it out and carved it. Its rubbery red skin peeled off quickly. Its soft white flesh was full of tiny black seeds, and it was just as I expected — a deliciously sweet taste that melts in your mouth. It was well worth the wait. Lucky me, there were four more on the plant ready to blossom and ripen.

From Ugly to Blossom Treats

Oh, what joy. My little ugly-looking plant with tentacles turned out to be a beautiful Dragon Fruit tree. And, which I am proud to own.

Originally published at on September 23, 2017.

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My writing journey began as a way to cope with grief. I realized I enjoyed writing and began a blog, Debbie’s Reflection ( I also enjoy traveling. Therefore, as a traveler, I began another blog, Traveler Wows (, in which I share tips on places, landmarks, and reviews on airlines, hotels, and restaurants. Thank you for joining me on my writing journey.

Orlando, FL

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