Pineapples – the sweetest of all Bromeliads
Ananas comosus is a seedless Bromeliad cultivar grown for thousands of years by the Mayans and Aztecs for its sweet fruit. In addition to food, First Nations peoples have used the plant to make alcohol, herbal medicines and as a fibre for weaving.
Native to South America and widely distributed in pre-Columbian times, Columbus introduced the Pineapple to Europeans following his landing at Guadeloupe in 1493. They were so expensive to grow and import to Europe until the 19th Century that they became a symbol of wealth deployed as a motif in architecture and interior design.
‘Ananas’ is variously described as meaning ‘excellent fruit’ and ‘perfume’ in the South American Tupian language, ‘Ananas’ is the name for the fruit in the South American Tupian language meaning perfume. A text from 1568 also records the Pineapple as being called ‘Hoyriri’ by the Tupi people who lived near modern Rio de Janeiro. The fruit was dubbed ‘pineapple’ by Europeans due to its resemblance to pinecones. The species name ‘comosus’ is Latin for ‘shaggy’, which references the fruit’s leaves.
A sweet, prickly pot plant
Pineapples have shallow roots and can be grown in containers in a well-drained potting mix, but bear in mind that they are very prickly plants and may be dangerous if you have curious children or pets in your household.