Pineapple is an edible, terrestrial bromeliad.
Plant in areas with full sun. A drought-tolerant fruit, water only after transplanting, or in times of severe drought. They absolutely require well-drained soil; a waterlogged pineapple will quickly die. Pineapple thrives with slightly acidic soil and lots of organic matter like chicken manure.
One pineapple has 100 to 200 flowers per fruit! Each ‘eye’ is a flower. Strung or sewed into lei, the flowers make a fragrant creation. As the pineapple matures, the fruitlets fuse at the core to become one delicious, low-calorie fruit.
Reproduce pineapples vegetatively. Propagate the crowns (leafy top of the fruit), slips (small crowns directly below the fruit), and suckers (crowns growing from the stem)- all will yield fruit in 15 to 30 months. Hawaiian-grown pineapples are seedless. A hummingbird pollinated plant, the pineapple industry, prevented the importation of the nonnative birds to maintain the seedless fruit.
No one knows who imported the first pineapples to Hawaii. Don Francisco de Paula Marín, a prominent citizen and avid gardener, wrote in his diary about planting a pineapple under an orange tree in 1813. It was written without much excitement or fanfare, indicating that pineapples were somewhat common.
It wasn’t until the early 1900s that Hawaii became the worlds leading pineapple producer. Before annexation, pineapple exporters in Hawaii paid a crushing 35% tariff to export to the US mainland. The arrival of the new cultivar ‘Smooth Cayenne’ and the well-connected James Dole paved the way for the world domination in pineapple production. Smooth Cayenne was a far superior pineapple for the canning industry. A vigorous grower, it yielded large fruits, resisted most pests and disease, and had a high-quality taste. Eventually, the industry changed, and canning pineapples in Hawaii became cost-prohibitive. The last cannery closed in the early 2000s. Even so, the pineapple and Hawaii go hand-in-hand.
The fruit is ripe when the innermost leaves come off with a slight pull.
- Container plant
- Cultural significance
- Lei flower
- Thorns or spines
High Risk Traits:
- Grows in tropical climates
- Naturalized outside native range
- An environmental weed on inselbergs in the humid parts of West Africa
- Leaf margins usually (but not always) have saw-toothed spines.
- Tolerates many soil types
- Spreads vegetatively
- Can re-shoot from large pieces of stem
Low Risk Traits:
- Edible fruit
- Rarely produces seeds
- Requires specialized pollinators
- Requires full sun
- Lack of seed production and large fruit makes long distance and inadvertent dispersal unlikely