Pineapples are a delicious tropical fruit, with sweet insides contained within their spiky exterior. Chances are you have seen and tasted the deliciousness of this fruit at some point.
It seems that a lot of people wonder how these juicy fruits really grow, and to those who aren’t native to the tropics they may assume that they grow on trees just like most other fruits.
The fact is, Pineapples do not grow on trees, but actually in the center of a small, spiky bush that grows on the ground! Continue reading if you would like to learn more about these prickly fruits.
Pertaining to Pineapples
Pineapples are a wonderful fruit that is much closer to a berry than an apple or orange because it grows much closer to the ground.
Due to media representation, many may assume that pineapples hail from the island of Hawaii, but they actually stem from the east.
Native to mainland America, particularly around South America, pineapples thrived for years. They have also been found natively in Africa, of all places.
Their first exposure to the outside world began centuries ago, when the Spanish explorer Christopher Columbus brought them back home after one of his expeditions.
After sharing this delicious fruit with the world, it began to explode in popularity. Many enjoyed the juicy and refreshing taste that the fruit provides.
The Spanish gave the fruit its name, combining aspects of both pine trees as well as apples.
A mix of both Spanish and English words, respectively, were used to describe this peculiar fruit. The first word being of Spanish origin, and the second of English origin.
The Spanish bequeathed likened the fruit to that of a pinecone, thus the use of their word for pine, “Pina”, while the “apple” portion was due to the sweet taste that the fruit carried.
Moving forward a few centuries, pineapples became a symbol of the wealthy. Many individuals would grow these fruits in their own personal greenhouses.
In 17th century Europe you were seen as a high roller if you had one of these lovely fruits lain out at the table for one of your feasts!
As with many exotic fruits, pineapples did not keep their status as a wealthy man’s fruit for much longer. Within just a few centuries the fruit would become available to nearly everyone, and for an affordable price.
This is due to the fact that, through various men, the pineapple was introduced to Hawaii, and the famous Dole plantations began to can the fruit for easy access to Americans.
Nowadays Hawaii does not produce very many pineapples (only about 2% of the world’s total, compared to a previous 80%!), yet we can still pick up canned and even fresh pineapple with ease by stopping by our local grocery store.
So How do They Grow?
As stated earlier, pineapples do not grow from the branches of a tree, or even on a vine. They grow down on the ground, in small, spiky bushes.
The plant that the pineapple grows out from has many thick, spiky green leaves that go out in all directions. They end at the center of the plant, forming a sort of staging area for the pineapple fruit to grow out of someday.
There are small plantlets that grow between the leaves of the plant itself. These are called suckers and each one has its own roots.
Suckers can actually be taken and used to grow new pineapples. This is why after harvest; many will cut the leaves of the plant in order for the suckers to have an easier time growing.
Due to pineapples not having seeds that can be taken from the fruit and grown on their own, you can also choose to plant the top of the pineapple back into the ground in order to grow a new plant.
This will take longer than other methods, such as using a sucker or the slip (which is a part of the stem of the fruit itself) to grow a new plant, but it is entirely possible.
Using the crown of the pineapple is much more effective if you are living in tropical climates, as the plant will be kept warm and moist, encouraging growth.
Growing in sandy soil, the fruit prefers to be kept in relatively warm temperatures with lots of sun. If it does get too cold, then the fruit itself will come out as sour and tart. But should it grow in warmer than normal conditions then the fruit will come out extra sweet.
A mature pineapple plant will take up to three years to grow and prepare itself before it will begin to bear fruit.
Upon maturity, the plant will be around 4 feet tall as well as wide, with many spiky leaves sticking out everywhere. You may trim these throughout its growth in order to keep it a bit under control.
At this point, a flower will begin to grow at the center of the plant. This flower will, at some time later, be substituted by the actual pineapple fruit.
The fruit begins growth as a very tiny version of itself. Slowly, over time, it will grow to form the mature pineapple, with spiky green leaves and prickly yellow outside. This process takes from one year up to sixteen months to complete.
When the pineapple is finally ripe and ready for harvest, you can safely take it from the plant by pulling and twisting the fruit free.
Keep in mind that once you pluck the fruit from the main plant that it will not ripen any further. So timing is everything when it comes to harvesting.
After harvesting your fruit, you must wait another year or so for the next fruit to grow. Each plant can only grow one at a time, so if you want more pineapples, plant more plants!
The pineapple started out, as many tropical and exotic fruits do, as a sign of wealth and status. But overtime it has become a cheap and affordable commodity for all to enjoy.
Although many who are not familiar with the fruit may have thought that it grew on the branches of a tree like regular apples, we now know that it actually grows down on the ground.
Indeed, this interesting fruit is not only tantalizing to the taste buds, but unique among the rest of the fruit available for consumption today.