Kathie Van Arum
Kathie Van Arum Dragon Fruit is a hybrid variety from Hylocereus stenopterus and Hylocereus undatus. It is one of three hybrid clones created by German hybridizer Eckhard Meier, and the other two siblings are Bruni and Connie Mayer. Spicy Exotics collected this variety from a tropical nursery in California.
The growth is very tender and three-sided, which is typical of Hylocereus. The tenderness comes from the mother plant, Hylocereus stenopterus. Two or three tiny spines occur along the rib, which differs from its sister clones, Bruni and Connie Mayer.
The flower Kathie Van Arum is a medium-sized bloom with inner petals being pink shading to purple with white edges and tips. Before flowering, the flower bud is equally impressive. In Louisiana, the flower opens at dusk and closes at sunrise, and when compared to other varieties, this is much earlier. One downside to Kathie Van Arum is it is self-sterile but will set fruit with pollen from different varieties that do not contain the stenopterus gene.
Fruits are small, egg-shaped, plentiful, often weighing .25 to three-quarters of a pound. The fruit’s flesh is pink, with the skin bringing pale dark red, almost maroon colored, with green fins. In Louisiana, this took 45 days compared to 30 days for other Hylocereus species. The average brix rating for this fruit is 20 plus brix. The first test was in 2017, and it weighed half a pound. Before tasting, I tested with a refractometer, and I could not believe my eyes. It had a brix reading of 22.5. I then tasted the fruit, and it had the most fantastic coconut taste. This Dragon Fruit is excellent eaten fresh, in jams, as a garnish, or as juice in drinks. Check out our Pinterest page for other great uses of this variety.