Ananas comosus

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Photographs by: Dr. Maulik Gadani

  • Botanical Name : Ananas comosus (L.) Merr.
  • Ananas, the original name of the fruit, comes from the Tupi (Brazilian) word for pine, nanas meaning "excellent fruit"; comosus is Latin for 'hairy, tufted' which refers to the stem of the fruit.

  • Synonyms : Bromelia ananas L.
  • Common Name : Pineapple, Ananas
  • Common Name Details :

    The English word pineapple originally meant what is now called a pine cone, and was used for the fruit because of its similarity to a pine cone.

  • Plant Family : Bromeliaceae
  • Plant Form : Herb
  • Occurrence (Special Areas) : Indroda Park

About Ananas comosus Plant :

  • Habit : Herbaceous perennial.
  • Stem : Short, thick and stalky.
  • Leaves : Stiff, tough, waxy, narrow, sword-shaped, evergreen, gray-green leaves usually with saw-toothed edges appear in basal rosettes. The leaves of the cultivar Smooth Cayenne mostly lack spines, but those of most other cultivars have large spines along the leaf margins.
  • Inflorescence : Spike like with over 100 spirally arranged, trimerous flowers, each subtended by a bract. The inflorescence consists of 50-200 individual hermaphrodite flowers with tubular corolla.
  • Flowers : Flower colors vary, depending on variety, from lavender, through light purple to red.
  • Flowers are normally self-sterile and fruit development is parthenocarpic.
  • Fruits : Sorosis. It is an example of multiple fruit. Many, spirally arranged flowers along the axis each produce a fleshy fruit that presses against the fruit of the adjacent flowers and forms what looks like a single, fleshy fruit. The ovaries develop into berries which coalesce into a large, compact, multiple accessory fruit. The fruits of the pineapple are arranged in two interlocking spirals, 8 in one direction, 13 in the other: these are Fibonacci numbers. The rind of a pineapple retains the persistent bracts.
  • Significance :
    • Most pineapples are canned, juiced, or eaten raw.
    • Sugar-syrup from the excess pineapple juices may be used to produced alcohol or pineapple wine via fermentation or to extract citric acid.
    • One interesting by-product is bromelin, a protein-digesting enzyme similar to papain (papaya, Carica papaya) that occurs in the juice, and this enzyme stops gelatin from solidifying.
    • Leaves of bromeliad relatives of pineapple can be used as hard fiber for commercial uses.
    • During canning, the shell is first removed, then the central cylinder is cut to remove the tough stalk of the inflorescence. The remaining slices may be cut into chunks or diced, and hot syrup from juices and sugar are added.