Scientific Name: Ananas comosus
Synonyms: Ananas ananas, Bromelia ananas, B. comosa
Common Name: Pineapple
Growth Habit: Herb/Forb
Hawaii Native Status: Cultivated. This commercial food plant is native to Brazil. It was brought here to Hawaii in the early 1800s.
Flower Color: Violet. The more conspicuous inflorescences are pink or brown.
Height: Up to 5 feet (1.5 m) tall, but usually around 3 feet (90 cm) tall
Description: The pineapple-shaped, reddish or brownish inflorescences have numerous small flowers and are crowned with small leaves. The individual flowers are relatively inconspicuous, violet, tube-like, and have 3 petals, 3 sepals, and 6 stamens. In the tropical Americas, the flowers are pollinated by hummingbirds (which are not found here in Hawaii), and only the pollinated flowers will produce seeds. The inflorescences are followed by large, 6 to 12 inch (15 to 30 cm) long, round to egg-shaped, pinecone-like, leafy-topped, green to blackish, ripening to yellow, orange, reddish, or purplish compound fruits (pineapples) with white or yellow flesh. Each hexagonal section of the pineapple is actually an individual fruit. The leaves are glaucous, dull green, purplish, reddish, or striped with pink, yellow, or white, sword-shaped, spine-tipped or merely point-tipped, and either smooth-edged or edged with spiny teeth. The rosette-like leaves are spirally arranged on short, stout stems.
Here in Hawaii, these plants are commercially cultivated and reproduce asexually by suckers, offshoots (slips), or by the planting of the leafy fruit tops.
The similar Red Pineapple (Ananas bracteatus) has more colorful, spiny inflorescences and smaller fruit.
Edible – The ripe fruit is edible either raw or cooked and is the familiar pineapple found in grocery stores. The leathery rind, leafy top, and tough core are removed and the sweet, juicy, tangy, acidic, yellow or white flesh is eaten. Besides being edible themselves, the fruits also contain bromelain, which is used in meat tenderizers and for various medicinal purposes.
Poisonous – The green, unripe fruits are poisonous and can cause throat irritation and gastrointestinal upset if eaten. Sap from the leaves contains ethyl acrylate and calcium oxalate crystals and can cause minor skin irritation and severe mouth pain if ingested.
Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Liliopsida – Monocotyledons
Family: Bromeliaceae – Bromeliad family
Genus: Ananas Mill. – pineapple
Species: Ananas comosus (L.) Merr. – pineapple
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