Ananas comosus is the only species of Bromeliaceae with economic importance because of its fruit, the pineapple.
It is a cultigen, i.e. a plant selected by man for which there are no more specimens in the wild.
Christopher Columbus discovered the fruit in 1493 in Guadeloupe and called it piña de Indes (Indian pine) due to the similarity of the fruit with a pine cone.
Before the end of the 16th century, it was grown all over the tropics and from the 17th century on, it was grown in Europe in heated greenhouses.
It is also one of the few terrestrial Bromeliaceae. Most other species of that family are epiphytic.
Ananas can be grown in the garden only in the tropics, everywhere else it can be grown easily as a houseplant or in a heated greenhouse.
Ananas may be invasive in the tropics because it produces numerous shoots.
Ananas comosus is a herbaceous plant of 1-2 m in diameter and 1-1.5 m grows high.
The stem is short, round in cross-section, up to 50 cm long and 8 cm wide.
Leaves are spirally implanted on the stem, in dense rosettes of 30-50 leaves which are oblong, gray-green to red, up to 1 m long and 4 cm wide and with spiky margins.
The inflorescence is 20-30 cm long, on a stem of up to 50 cm long, enclosed by bracts. The flowers are small, purple or red and have a single red, yellow or green fleshy bract. There are 100-200 flowers per inflorescence.
The fruit is a fused berry, up to 30 cm long, crowned with 20-30 green leaves. The hard, waxy shell is composed of hexagonal cells, dark-green, yellow, orange-yellow or red when the fruit is ripe. The flesh color ranges from nearly white to yellow.
Usually, there are only rudiments of undeveloped seeds. Sometimes we find pineapple fruit with mature seeds.
The plant produces shoots on the stem around the base of the fruit, in the leaf axils and ground shoots at the base of the plant.
- food: fresh fruit, juice, preparation of alcoholic drinks
- medicinally: parasitic worms and amoebae, stomach disorders, provoking abortion, stimulation of menses…
- fiber: fishing nets, fishing lines, hammocks, loincloths…
Some people are sensitive to fresh pineapple, by ingestion as well as by skin contact.
In this case, avoid fresh pineapple and use only cooked pineapple or canned pineapple.
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Ananas: from the Tupi nana (excellent fruit)
Comosus: from the Latin comōsus (hairy, leafy)
Only in culture
USDA zone 11
Light, nutritious, slightly acidic, well drained
Pineapple is a drought resistant plant, water sparingly: just enough to keep slightly moist, no surplus water at the bottom of the pot
Universal liquid fertilizer every two weeks throughout the year
Propagating pineapple vegetatively by shoots is the easiest method. Use the shoot that grows on top of the fruit. Choose a pineapple whose top shoot is nicely green and where the central leaves do not come loose when you pull them.
It can also be sown but most fruits contain no seed.
If your plant gets enough light and heat, it can even produce fruit after a year or two indoors.
- the seed is very tough and it may take several months before it germinates
- in order to accelerate germination of the seed, it may be scarified, for example by sanding with sandpaper
- sow seed in moist sowing substrate
- 20-25 °C
- germination time: 2-4 weeks if scarified, otherwise 3-6 months
- cut the flesh from the fruit up to the trunk of the top shoot
- remove the bottom leaves
- plant in moist soil or put in a glass of water
- a few weeks later the roots appear
- when the roots are well grown, you can transplant it
- room temperature