Very common tropical fruit coming in several varieties, all with sweetish, acidic flavor.
Pineapple (Ananas comosus) is the common name for a tropical plant and its edible fruit which are coalesced berries. Pineapples are the only bromeliad fruit in widespread cultivation. It can be grown as an ornamental, especially from the leafy tops. Some sources say that the plant will flower after about 24 months & produce a fruit during the following six months while others indicate a 20-month timetable.
Pineapple is eaten fresh or canned or juiced. It is popularly used in desserts, salads, as a complement to meat dishes and in fruit cocktail. The popularity of the pineapple is due to its sweet-sour taste containing 15% sugar and malic and citric fruit acids. It is also high in vitamin B1, B2, B6 and C. Its protein-digesting enzyme bromelain seems to help digestion at the end of a high protein meal.
In the Philippines, pineapple leaves are used as the source of a textile fiber called piña.
Description: 2-5ft tall bromeliad. Leaves are 1-6ft long, frond-like, with small razored edges. Fruits take around 9 months to mature, upon which the mother plant will die. Usually, a side shoot or sucker has developed at this point, which will then flower and produce another fruit.
Hardiness: While they are hardy to 28-32F, growth stops below 55F. Ideal growing temperatures are between 68-95F.
Growing Environment: Pineapples enjoy acidic soil, lots of water, full sun, and warm temperatures. They are drought tolerant.
Propagation: By far the easiest way for the home gardener to propagate is to cut the top off of a pineapple fruit. Clean excess pulp and plant in warm, well drained soil. Suckers are the other most common commercial and large scale method of propagation.
Uses: Normally eaten fresh, or used in preserves, desserts, garnishes, and as flavoring for numerous dishes.
Native Range: Native to Brazil and Paraguay.