Where do pineapples come from?

A flowering pineapple
A flowering pineapple

I’ve recently been in Kerala, India and one of the most surprising outcomes of my trip was that I learned I didn’t know where pineapples came from, how they grew, what a baby pineapple looked like. This might be surprising to some people but I grew up in Ireland and we don’t exactly have the right climate for pineapple cultivation. Since then, I have asked others (albeit Irish and English people) where they thought pineapples came from and the answer was always the same – “Erm….a pineapple tree?” . So it’s not just me! When I came across this flowering pineapple I was stunned and actually stopped to consider all the questions that I now had about pineapple botany. And there were a lot….

The scientific name for the pineapple plant is Ananas comosusananas coming form the Tupi word for  “excellent fruit” and comosus, “tufted”. The Pineapple – An Excellent Tufted Fruit.

So, no there is no such thing as a pineapple tree but rather they grow on medium-sized shrubs on the ground, surrounded by clumps of sword-shaped leaves. The leaves are evergreen and a grey-green colour with rather sharp saw toothed edges. These leaves grow in rosettes from the base of the plants and can reach 30-100cm. When creating its fruit, it usually produces up to 200 purple or red flowers. Once it flowers, the individual fruits of the flowers join together to create what the pineapple which we know and love.

I have found a great tutorial on how to grow your own pineapple plant at home which I am definitely going to give a go! Just remove the crown and put into water until you roots develop then repot. Seems almost too easy but I’ll report back shortly!

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