From the book
Fruits of Warm Climates
by Julia F. Morton
Life of plantation
The pineapple is the leading edible member of the family
Bromeliaceae which embraces about 2,000 species, mostly epiphytic and
many strikingly ornamental. Now known botanically as Ananas comosus
Merr. (syns. A. sativus
Schult. f., Ananassa
sativa Lindl., Bromelia
ananas L., B.
the fruit has acquired few vernacular names. It is widely called pina
by Spanish-speaking people, abacaxi in the Portuguese tongue, ananas by
the Dutch and French and the people of former French and Dutch
colonies; nanas in southern Asia and the East Indes. In China, it is
po-lo-mah; sometimes in Jamaica, sweet pine; in Guatemala often merely
Fig. 6: A spiny-leaved pineapple in the Supply garden, Homestead, Fla.,
pineapple plant is a terrestrial herb 2 1/2 to 5 ft (.75-1.5 m) high
with a spread of 3 to 4 ft (.9-1.2 m); a very short, stout stem and a
rosette of waxy, straplike leaves, long-pointed, 20 to 72 in (50-180cm)
1ong; usually needle tipped and generally bearing sharp, upcurved
spines on the margins. The leaves may be all green or variously striped
with red, yellow or ivory down the middle or near the margins. At
blooming time, the stem elongates and enlarges near the apex and puts
forth a head of small purple or red flowers, each accompanied by a
single red, yellowish or green bract. The stem continues to grow and
acquires at its apex a compact tuft of stiff, short leaves called the
"crown" or "top". Occasionally a plant may bear 2 or 3 heads, or as
many as 12 fused together, instead of the normal one.
individual fruits develop from the flowers they join together forming a
cone shaped, compound, juicy, fleshy fruit to 12 in (30 cm) or more in
height, with the stem serving as the fibrous but fairly succulent core.
The tough, waxy rind, made up of hexagonal units, may be dark-green,
yellow, orange-yellow or reddish when the fruit is ripe. The flesh
ranges from nearly white to yellow. If the flowers are pollinated,
small, hard seeds may be present, but generally one finds only traces
of undeveloped seeds. Since hummingbirds are the principal pollinators,
these birds are prohibited in Hawaii to avoid the development of
undesired seeds. Offshoots, called "slips", emerge from the stem around
the base of the fruit and shoots grow in the axils of the leaves.
Suckers (aerial suckers) are shoots arising from the base of the plant
at ground level; those proceeding later from the stolons beneath the
soil are called basal suckers or "ratoons".
Origin and Distribution
to southern Brazil and Paraguay (perhaps especially the Parana-Paraguay
River) area where wild relatives occur, the pineapple was apparently
domesticated by the Indians and carried by them up through South and
Central America to Mexico and the West Indies long before the arrival
of Europeans. Christopher Columbus and his shipmates saw the pineapple
for the first time on the island of Guadeloupe in 1493 and then again
in Panama in 1502. Caribbean Indians placed pineapples or pineapple
crowns outside the entrances to their dwellings as symbols of
friendship and hospitality. Europeans adopted the motif and the fruit
was represented in carvings over doorways in Spain, England, and later
in New England for many years. The plant has become naturalized in
Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras and Trinidad but the fruits of wild
plants are hardly edible.
Spaniards introduced the pineapple
into the Philippines and may have taken it to Hawaii and Guam early in
the 16th Century. The first sizeable plantation 5 acres (2
ha)—was established in Oahu in 1885. Portuguese traders are
to have taken seeds to India from the Moluccas in 1548, and they also
introduced the pineapple to the east and west coasts of Africa. The
plant was growing in China in 1594 and in South Africa about 1655. It
reached Europe in 1650 and fruits were being produced in Holland in
1686 but trials in England were not success ful until 1712. Greenhouse
culture flourished in England and France in the late 1700's. Captain
Cook planted pineapples on the Society Islands, Friendly Islands and
elsewhere in the South Pacific in 1777. Lutheran missionaries in
Brisbane, Australia, imported plants from India in 1838. A commercial
industry took form in 1924 and a modern canning plant was erected about
1946. The first plantings in Israel were made in 1938 when 200 plants
were brought from South Africa. In 1939, 1350 plants were imported from
the East Indies and Australia, but the climate is not a favorable one
for this crop.
Over the past 100 years, the pineapple has become
one of the leading commercial fruit crops of the tropics. In 1952-53,
world production was close to 1,500,000 tons and reportedly nearly
doubled during the next decade. Major producing areas are Hawaii,
Brazil, Malaysia, Taiwan, Mexico, the Philippines, South Africa and
Puerto Rico. By 1968, the total crop had risen to 3,600,000 tons, of
which only 100,000 tons were shipped fresh (mainly from Mexico, Brazil
and Puerto Rico) and925.000 tons were processed. In the period 1961-66,
imports of fresh pineapples into Europe rose by 70%. Soon many new
markets were opening. In 1973, the total crop was estimated at
4,000,000 tons with 2.2 million tons processed. The increased worldwide
demand for canned fruit has greatly stimulated plantings in Africa and
Latin America. For years, Hawaii supplied 70% of the world's canned
pineapple and 85% of canned pineapple juice, but labor costs have
shifted a large segment of the industry from Hawaii to the Philippines.
Because production costs in Hawaii (which are 50% labor) have increased
25% or more, Dole has transferred 75% of its operation to the
Philippines, where, in 1983, it employed 10,000 laborers on about
25,000, mostly rented, acres (10,117 ha).
Pineapples were first
canned in Malaya by a retired sailor in 1888 and exporting from
Singapore soon followed. By 1900, shipments reached a half million
cases. The industry alternately grew and declined, and then ceased
entirely for 3 1/2 years during World War II. The Malaysian Pineapple
Industry Board was established in 1959. Thereafter there has been
steady progress. The pineapple, was a very minor crop in Thailand until
1966 when the first large cannery was built. Others followed. Since
then processing and exporting have risen rapidly. In 1977-78 many
farmers switched from sugarcane to pineapple. Of the annual production
of 1 1/2 million tons, 1/8 is canned as fruit or Julce.
Africa produces 2.7 million cartons of canned pineapple yearly and
exports 2.4 million. In addition, 31,000 tons of fresh pineapple are
sold on the domestic market and 500,000 cartons exported yearly. As in
many areas, pineapple culture existed on a small scale on the Ivory
Coast until post WW II when cultural efforts were stepped up. By 1950,
annual production amounted to 1800 tons. By 1972, it had risen to
200,000 tons for shipment, fresh or canned, to western Europe.
Cameroun's annual production is about 6,000 tons.
In the Azores,
pineapples have been grown in green-houses for many years for export
mainly to Portugal and Madeira. They are of luxury quality, carefully
tended and blemish free, graded for uniform size and well padded in
each box for shipment.
As of 1971, the ten leading exporters of
fresh pineapples were (in descending order): Taiwan (39,621 tons),
Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Ivory Coast, Brazil, Guinea, Mexico, South Africa,
Philippines and Martinique (5,000 tons). The ten leading exporters of
processed pineapples were (in descending order): Hawaii, Philippines,
Taiwan, South Africa, Malaysia (Singapore), Ivory Coast, Australia,
Ryukyu, Mexico, Thailand (10,500,000 tons).
In Puerto Rico, the
pineapple is the leading fruit crop, 95% produced, processed and
marketed by the Puerto Rico Land Authority. The 1980 crop was 42,493
tons having a farm value of 6.8 million dollars.
For 250 years,
pineapples have been grown in the Bahama Islands. At one time plantings
on Eleuthera, Cat Island and Long Island totaled about 12,000 acres.
The pineapple was a pioneer crop along the east coast of Florida and
or, the Keys. In 1860 fields were established on Plantation Key and
Merritt's Island. And in 1876 planting material from the Keys was set
out all along the central Florida east coast. Shipping to the North
began in 1879. In 1910 there were 5000 to 10,000 acres stretching as
far north as Ft. Pierce. There were more than a dozen families raising
pineapples on Elliott's Key where an average crop was 50,000 to 75,000
dozen fruits, mostly sent by schooner to New York. When the industry
was flourishing, Florida shipped to New York, Philadelphia and
Baltimore one million crates of pineapples a year from the sandy ridge
along the Indian River. It was believed in those days that the
pineapple benefitted by closeness to salt water.
roofed with palmetto fronds, Spanish moss or tobacco cloth were
constructed to provide shade which promoted vigorous plant growth and
high fruit quality. Wood-burning ovens were scattered through the sheds
for frost protection in winter. Small, open boxcars operating on steam
or horsepower ran on wooden rails the length of the shed to transport
loads of fruit to the packing station. In open fields, plants were
sheltered by palmetto fronds from mid-December to mid-March. 'Smooth
Cayenne' had to be grown in sheds. It was not successful in the open.
One early planter on Eden Island moved his farm to the mainland because
bears ate the ripe fruits. With the coming of the railroad in 1894,
pineapple growing expanded. The 1908-09 crop was 1,110,547 crates. Then
Cuban competition for U.S. markets caused prices to fall and many
Florida growers gave up. The ridge pineapple fields begain to fail as
the humus was exhausted by cultivation. Fertilization was steadily
raising the pH too high for the pineapple. World War I brought on a
shortage of fertilizer, then several freezes in 1917 and 1918
devastated the industry.
In the early 1930's, the United Fruit
Company supplied slips for a new field at White City but the pressure
of coastal development soon reduced this to a small patch. Shortly
after World War II, a plantation of 'Natal Queen' and 'Eleuthera' was
established in North Miami but, after a few years, the operation was
shifted inland to Sebring, in Highlands County, Central Florida, where
it still produces on a small scale.
international trade, the numerous pineapple cultivars are grouped in
four main classes: 'Smooth Cayenne', 'Red Spanish', 'Queen', and
'Abacaxi', despite much variation in the types within each class.
or 'Cayenne', 'Cayena Lisa' in Spanish (often known in India, Sri
Lanka, Malaysia and Thailand as 'Sarawak' or 'Kew') was selected and
cultivated by Indians in Venezuela long ago and introduced from Cayenne
(French Guyana) in 1820. From there it reached the Royal Botanical
Gardens, Kew, England, where it was improved and distributed to Jamaica
and Queensland, Australia. Because of the plants near freedom from
spines except for the needle at the leaftip and the size-4 to 10 lbs
(1.8 4.5 kg)-cylindrical form, shallow eyes, orange rind, yellow flesh,
low fiber, juiciness and rich mildly acid flavor, it has become of
greatest importance worldwide even though it is subject to disease and
does not ship well. Mainly, it is prized for canning, having sufficient
fiber for firm slices and cubes as well as excellent flavor.
was the introduction of this cultivar into the Philippines from Hawaii
in 1912 that upgraded the Philippine industry from the casual growing
of the semi-wild type which was often seedy. There are several clones
of 'Smooth Cayenne' in Hawaii which have been selected for resistance
to mealybug wilt. It is the leading cultivar in Taiwan. In 1975, the
Queensland Department of Primary Industries, after 20 years of breeding
and testing, released a dual purpose cultivar named the 'Queensland
Cayenne'. South Africas Pineapple Research Station, East London, after
20 years of selecting and testing of 'Smooth Cayenne' clones, has
chosen 4 as superior especially for the canning industry.
a variant of 'Smooth Cayenne' selected in Hawaii in 1960. The plant is
more compact, the fruit is smaller, more cylindrical; produces no slips
but numerous suckers It may be the same as the 'Cayenne Lisse' strain
grown in Martinique and on the Ivory Coast, the fruit of which weighs
from 2 to 2 3/4 lbs (1-1 1/2 kg) and has a very small crown.
another strain of 'Smooth Cayenne' is the famous product of the Azores.
The fruit weighs 5 to 6 lbs (2.25-2.75 kg), has a very small crown, a
small core, is sweet with low acidity, and some regard it as insipid
when fully ripe.
well-known in India, bears a large fruit averaging 6 lbs (2.75 kg),
often up to 10 lbs (4.5 kg) and occasionall up to 22 lbs (10 kg). The
core is large and its extraction results in too large a hole in canned
second to 'Giant Kew' in size in India, tapers toward the crown, is
orange-yellow when ripe, aromatic, very juicy. The crop comes in early.
'Baron Rothschild', a Cayenne strain, grown in Guinea, has a smaller
fruit 1 3/4 to 5 lbs (0.8-2 kg) in weight, marketed fresh.
(also celled 'Tachirense', 'Capachera', 'Motilona', and 'Lebrija') is a
'Smooth Cayenne' type ranking second to 'Red Spanish' in importance in
Venezuela. It has long been grown in Colombia. The plant is entirely
smooth with no spine at the leaftip. The fruit is yellow, large-7 to 9
1bs (3-4 kg) and cylindrical.
of Venezuela and Colombia, is probably a mutation of 'Perolera'. The
fruit is red or purple externally, cylindrical with square ends,
shallow eyes, deep-yellow flesh, very slender core but has slips around
the crown and too many basal slips to suit modern commercial
of Mexico and Central America, also has smooth leaves with no terminal
spine. The fruit is rounded, white-fleshed, with good aroma and flavor.
Costa Rica exports fresh to Europe.
Other variants of 'Smooth
Cayenne' include the 'Esmeralda' grown in Mexico and formerly in
Florida for fresh, local markets; 'Typhone', of Taiwan; 'Cayenne
Guadeloupe', of Guadeloupe, which is more disease resistant than
'Smooth Cayenne'; and 'Smooth Guatemalan' end 'Palin' grown in
Guatemala; also 'Piamba da Marquita' of Colombia. Some who have made
efforts to classify pineapple strains have proposed grouping all
smooth-leaved types under the collective name 'Maipure'. In Amazonas,
Venezuela, this name is given to a large plant with smooth leaves
stained with red. The fruit has 170 to 190 eyes.
7: 'Red Spanish' (left) and 'Abacaxi' (called 'English' in the Bahamas)
(right). In: K. and J. Morton, Fifty Tropical Fruits of Nassau, 1946.
Philipps Platts, a leading pineapple authority, experimented with 60 to
70 cultivars in Florida but 'Red
proved most dependable. Despite the spininess of the plant, it still is
the most popular among growers in the West Indies, Venezuela and
Mexico. 'Red Spanish' constitutes 85% of all commercial planting in
Puerto Rico and 75% of the production for the fresh fruit market. It is
only fair for canning. The fruit is more or less round, orange-red
externally, with deep eyes, and ranges from 3 to 6 lbs (1.36-2.7 kg).
The flesh is pale-yellow, fibrous, with a large core, aromatic and
flavorful. The fruit is hard when mature, breaks off easily and cleanly
at the base in harvesting, and stands handling and transport well. It
is highly resistant to fruit rot though subject to gummosis.
vigorous hybrids of 'Smooth Cayenne' and 'Red Spanish' were developed
at the Agricultural Experiment Station of the University of Puerto Rico
and released in 1970—'P.R. 1-56' and the slightly larger
67', both with good resistance to gummosis and mealybug wilt and of
excellent fruit quality. 'P.R. 1 67' averages 5 3/4 lbs (2.5 kg), gives
a high yield—32 tons per acre (79 tons/ha). The fruit is
yet with more acidity than 'Red Spanish', less fibrous and good for
marketing fresh and for canned juice. It was introduced into Venezuela
about 1979 and is grown in the State of Lara.
('Bull Head', or 'Pina de ague') is a prominent variant (a natural
tetraploid) of 'Red Spanish' long grown in Puerto Rico in the semiarid
region of Lajas, to which it is well suited; also in El Salvador. The
plant is large, over 3 ft (1 m) high; the leaves are gray-green. The
fruit is conical but not as tall as that of 'Valera'; averages 4 to 6
lbs (1.8-2.75 kg) and may reach 18 lbs (8 kg) or more. It is
orange-yellow at maturity, has few fibers and sweet-acid flesh. The
stem is large and extends up into the base of the fruit and if the
fruit is broken off when harvested it leaves a cavity. Consequently, it
must be cut with a machete and later trimmed flush with the base in the
packing house. It is marketed fresh only. It is resistant to gummosis.
Platts reported that it gave a low yield and was disease prone in
Florida. There are small plantings in the States of Trujillo and
Monagas, Venezuela. It has been cultivated frequently in the
('Negrita', or 'Andina'), is an old cultivar originating in Puerto
Rico; it is grown in the States of Lara, Merida and Trujillo in
Venezuela. It is a small to medium plant with long, narrow, spiny,
purple green leaves. The fruit is conical cylindrical, weighing 3 1/2
to 5 1/2 lbs (1.5-2.5 kg); is purple outside with white flesh.
is a 'Red Spanish' strain grown in the States of Lara and Trujillo in
Venezuela. The fruit is broad cylindrical and tall with a large crown;
weighs 4 1/2 to 9 lbs (2-4 kg); is yellow externally with very deep
eyes, about 72 to 88 in number. The flesh is pale-yellow and very sweet
grown in Lara, Trujillo and Merida, Venezuela, is a small-to-medium
plant with cylindrical fruit 1 1/2 to 2.2 lbs (0.6-1 kg) in weight,
reddish externally, with 100 eyes. It has pale-yellow flesh.
is a 'Red Spanish' strain grown in Colombia and El Salvador.
supposedly a selection of 'Red Spanish', grown mainly in the State of
Sucre, Venezuela, is a medium-sized plant, very spiny, producing an
oblong fruit with a large crown. It is orange-yellow externally; weighs
2 to 3 3/4 lbs (0.9-1.70 kg). and has yellowish-white flesh.
believed to be a variant of 'Red Spanish', is one of the less important
cultivars of Colombia and the State of Monagas, Venezuela. The plant is
large, with long, narrow, purple-red leaves. The fruit is
broad-cylindrical, purple-red externally, with white flesh.
('Pilon'), is a large plant with broad, sawtoothed, spiny-edged leaves.
The fruit is barrel-shaped, large, weighing 6.6 lbs (3 kg); has 160-180
medium-deep eyes; is yellow outside with deep-yellow, fibrous flesh. It
is ,grown among Mauritia palms in the State of Monagas, Venezuela.
(also called 'White Abacaxi of Pernambuco', 'Pernambuco', 'Eleuthera',
and 'English') is well known in Brazil, the Bahamas and Florida. The
plant is spiny and disease-resistant. Leaves are bluish-green with
red-purple tinge in the bud. The numerous suckers need thinning out.
The fruit weighs 2.2 to ll lbs (1-5 kg), is tall and straight-sided;
sunburns even when erect. It is very fragrant. The flesh is white or
very pale yellowish, of rich, sweet flavor, succulent and juicy with
only a narrow vestige of a core. This is rated by many as the most
delicious pineapple. It is too tender for commercial handling, and the
yield is low. The fruit can be harvested without a knife; breaks off
easily for marketing fresh.
(also called 'Pan de Azucar') is closely related to 'Abacaxi', and much
appreciated in Central and South America, Puerto Rico, Cuba and the
Philippines. The leaves of the plants and crowns pull out easily and
this fact gave rise to the unreliable theory that pineapple ripeness is
indicated by the looseness of the leaves. The fruit is more or less
conical, sometimes round; not colorful; weighs 1 1/2 to 3 lbs
(0.68-1.36 kg). Flesh is white to yellow, very sweet, juicy. This
cultivar is too tender for shipping.
Among several strains of
'Sugarloaf' are 'Papelon', and 'Black Jamaica', and probably also
'Montufar' ('Sugar Slice' of Guatemala). The latter fruit is green,
conical, weighs 2 to 5 1/2 lbs (0.8 2.5 kg); has yellow, very juicy,
flesh, sweet yet a little acid. This pineapple also is too tender to
ship.There are a number of tropical American cultivars not categorized
as to groups, and among them are:
grown to a limited extent in southern Venezuela, is a small fruit with
small, spineless crown. Average weight is 1 1/2 to 2.2 lbs (0.7-1 kg).
The fruit is yellow externally. Flesh is yellow, with little fiber,
small core, very fragrant, very juicy.
grown to a small extent in the State of Bolivar, Venezuela, is a large
fruit weighing 4 to 5 1/2 lbs (1.8-2.5 kg). with a large, spiny crown.
It is cylindrical conical with deep eyes; yellow externally with white
flesh, a little fiber, very juicy, with large core.
and 'Sante Clara' are cultivars that have been introduced into Trinidad.
is a plant with bright-red, long-lasting flowers. The fruit bends over
and cracks in hot, dry weather. It weighs up to 5 lbs (2.25 kg), is
waxy, with yellow flesh of good flavor.
named after the tribe of Indians that has grown it for a long time, is
commercially grown to a small extent in the State of Bolivar,
Venezuela. The plant is of medium size with long, spiny leaves. The
fruit is bottle-shaped, small, 1 to 1 l/2 lbs (0.45-0.70 kg), with
small crown; ovate, with deep eyes; orange externally with deep-yellow
flesh; slightly fragrant, with little fiber and small core.
of Colombia, is subject to cracking of the core in hot, dry weather.
Peru, farmers still grow the old common 'Criolla' because it can be
sold fresh and is not easily damaged in shipment. But modern pineapple
production in that country depends on the 'Smooth Cayenne' for canning.
cultivars in Colombia include: 'Amarilla de Cambao', 'Amarilla de
Tocaima', 'Blanca Chocoana', 'Blanca del Atrato', 'Blanca de Valle del
Cauca', 'Cimarrona', 'Espanola de Santander', 'Hartona', 'Jamaiquena'
'Cacho de Venado'
is grown to a small extent in Monagas and Sucre, and 'Injerta' in
'Itaparica', 'Paulista', and 'Maranhao' (or 'Amarella') are spoken of
in Brazil; 'Azucaron' in El Salvador; 'Roja' in Mexico. It remains to
be determined if some of these names are merely synonyms for cultivars
already referred to.
(also known as 'European Pine', 'Malacca Queen', 'Red Ceylon' and 'Red
Malacca') is one of the 2 leading pineapple cultivars in Malaya; also
important in India and Ceylon. The leaves are dark green with broad red
central stripe and red spines on the margins. The fruit is small, 3 to
5 lbs (1.36-2.25 kg), yellow externally; has a thin core and very sweet
flesh. It is sold fresh and utilized for juice.
(Also called 'Red Jamaica', 'Singapore Spanish', 'Singapore Queen',
'Singapore Common') is second to 'Mauritius' in popularity. The leaves
are usually all-green but sometimes have a reddish stripe near the
margins; they are rarely spiny except at the tips. The fruits,
cylindrical, reddish, with deep eyes, are small—3 1/2 to 5
(1.6-2.25 kg)—with slender core, fibrous, golden-yellow
insipid raw but valued for canning. The plant is disease and
The related 'Green Selangor' (also called 'Selangor
Green', 'Green Spanish', and 'Selassie') of Malaysia has all-green
leaves prickly only at the tips. The flesh is golden-yellow, often with
white dots. This cultivar is grown for canning.
(also called 'Common Rough' in Australia) is the leading cultivar in
South Africa, Queensland and the Philippines. The plant is dwarf,
compact, more cold-resistant and more disease-resistant then 'Smooth
Cayenne'. It matures its fruit early but suckers freely and needs
thinning, and the yield is low. The fruit is conical, deep-yellow, with
deep eyes; weighs 1 to 2 1/2 lbs (0.45-1.13 kg); is less fibrous than
'Smooth Cayenne', but more fragrant; it is juicy, of fine flavor with a
small, tender core. It is sold fresh and keeps well. It is only fair
for canning because of its shape which makes for much waste.
of South Africa, also grown in El Salvador, produces many suckers. The
fruit weighs 1 1/2 to 2 lbs (0.75-0.9 kg).
a variant of 'Nasal Queen' selected in South Africa and grown also in
Queensland, is a spreading, more vigorous plant with broad leaves and
large suckers produced less freely. The fruit is cylindrical, medium to
large, with firm flesh and flavor resembling 'Queen'.
(formerly 'Z') is a mutation of 'Nasal Queen' that originated in South
Africa. It has larger fruit with square shoulders.
or 'Ripley Queen', ,grown in Queensland, is a dwarf, compact plant with
crimson tinge on leaves; takes 22 weeks from flowering to fruit
maturity; is an irregular bearer. The fruit weighs 3 to 6 lbs (1.36-2.7
kg); is pale-copper externally; flesh is pale-yellow, non-fibrous, very
sweet and rich. In Florida this cultivar tends to produce suckers
'Alexandria', a selection of 'Ripley Queen' in
Queensland, is more vigorous with large suckers and fruit. The fruit is
conical, tender, with 'Ripley Queen' flavor.
was introduced into Florida in 1870. It was popular at first, later
abandoned. The fruit weighs 2 to 4 lbs (0 9-1.8 kg).
is a little-known cultivar in India. Minor strains in Thailand are
'Pattavia', 'Calcutta', 'Sri Racha', 'Intorachit' and 'Chantabun'.
the evaluation of pineapples, the crown can be an asset or a liability.
Small crowns detract from the decorative appearance of the fruit; large
crowns are more attractive but hamper packing and constitute too great
a proportion of inedible material from the standpoint of the purchaser.
pineapple is a tropical or near tropical plant limited (except in
greenhouses) to low elevations between 30°N and 25°S. A
temperature range of 65°-95°F (18.33-45°C) is
favorable, though the plant can tolerate cool nights for short periods.
Prolonged cold retards growth, delays maturity and causes the fruit to
be more acid. Altitude has an important effect on the flavor of the
fruit. In Hawaii, the 'Smooth Cayenne' is cultivated from sea level up
to 2,000 ft (600 m). At higher elevations the fruit is too acid. In
Kenya, pineapples grown at 4500 ft (1371 m) are too sweet for canning;
between 4500 and 5700 ft (1371-1738 m) the flavor is most suitable for
canning; above 5700 ft (1738 m) the flavor is undesirably acid.
Pineapples are grown from sea level to 7545 ft (2300 m) in Ecuador but
those in the highlands are not as sweet as those of Guayaquil.
rainfall would be about 45 in (1,143 mm), half in the spring and half
in the fall; though the pineapple is drought tolerant and will produce
fruit under yearly precipitation rates ranging from 25 to 150 in
(650-3,800 mm), depending on cultivar and location and degree of
atmospheric humidity. The latter should range between 70 and 80 degrees.
best soil for pineapple culture is a well-drained, sandy loam with a
high content of organic matter and it should be friable for a depth of
at least 2 ft (60 cm), and pH should be within a range of 4.5 to 6.5.
Soils that are not sufficiently acid are treated with sulfur to achieve
the desired level. If excess manganese prevents response to sulfur or
iron, as in Hawaii, the plants require regular spraying with very weak
sulfate or iron. The plant cannot stand waterlogging and if there is an
impervious subsoil, drainage must be improved. Pure sand, red loam,
clay loam and gravelly soils usually need organic enrichment. Filter
presscake from sugar mills, worked into clay soils in Puerto Rico,
greatly enhances plant vigor, fruit yield, number of slips and suckers.
(or "tops"), slips (called nlbs or robbers in New South Wales), suckers
and ratoons have all been commonly utilized for vegetative
multiplication of the pineapple. To a lesser degree, some growers have
used "stumps", that is, mother plant suckers that have already fruited.
Seeds are desired only in breeding programs and are usually the result
of hand pollination. The seeds are hard and slow to germinate.
Treatment with sulfuric acid achieves germination in 10 days, but
higher rates of germination (75-90 % ) and more vigorous growth of
seedlings results from planting untreated seeds under intermittent mist.
seedlings are planted when 15-18 months old and will bear fruit 16-30
months later. Vegetatively propagated plants fruit in 15-22 months.
Queensland, tops and slips from the summer crop of 'Smooth Cayenne' are
stored upside down, close together, in semi-shade, for planting in the
fall. Some producers salvage the crowns from the largest grades of
fruits going through the processing factory to be assured of high
quality planting material.
South African experiments with
'Smooth Cayenne' have shown medium-size slips to be the best planting
material. Next in order of yield were large crowns, medium-size
suckers, medium-size crowns and large suckers. Medium and large
suckers, however, fruited earlier. Trimming of basal leaves increased
yields. Workers in Johore, Malaya, report, without specifying cultivar,
that large crowns give highest yield and more slips, followed by small
crowns, big slips, small slips, large and small suckers in descending
With the 'Red Spanish' in Puerto Rico, the utilization of
large slips for planting in the first quarter of the year, medium slips
during the next six months, and small slips in the final quarter,
provides fruits of the maximum size over an extended period of harvest.
Storage of slips until optimum planting time prevents premature bloom
and diminished fruit size.
The 'Red Spanish' reaches shipping-green stage (one week before
coloring begins) in Puerto Rico 150 days after natural blooming.
South Africa the 'Queen' is grown mainly from stumps, secondly from
suckers. The stumps which have fruited are detached from the mother
plant as soon as possible to avoid their developing suckers of their
own. In comparison with suckers, the stumps are consistently heavier in
yield after the 4th crop. When suckers are used, those of medium size,
approximately 18 in (45 cm) long, planted shallow and upright, yield
In the past, growers preferred plants that supplied
abundant basal slips for planting, not recognizing the fact that such
plants gave smaller fruits than those without slips or suckers. Also,
breeders aim toward elimination of slips to facilitate harvesting.
Because of the increased demand for planting material, a new method of
mass propagation received wide attention in 1960. During the harvest,
plants that have borne single-crowned, superior fruits without basal
slips are selected and marked. Following harvest, these plants are cut
close to the ground, the leaves are stripped off and the
stems—usually 1 to 2 ft (30-60 cm) long and 3 to 4 in (7.5-10
thick—are sliced lengthwise into 4 triangular strips. The
are disinfected and placed 4 in (10 cm) apart, with exterior side
upward, in beds of sterilized soil, semi-shaded and
sprinkler-irrigated. Shoots emerge in 3 to 5 weeks and are large enough
to transplant to the nursery in 6 to 8 weeks. 'Smooth Cayenne' yields
an average of 3 shoots per slice. 'Red Spanish' and 'Natal Queen', 4
This use of the stem is a major improvement over the
former practice of allowing it to develop suckers high up after the
fruit is harvested. If such suckers bear fruit in situ they are not
strong enough to support it and collapse. They are better removed for
planting, but repeated removal of suckers weakens the mother plant.
Sri Lanka, the shortage of planting material inspired experiments at
first utilizing stem cross-sections 1 in (2.5 cm) thick—15 to
from each stem. These sprouted in 4 weeks but plant growth was slow and
fruiting was delayed for 30 months. Most of the cuttings developed a
single sprout, some as many as 5, others, none at all. Accordingly,
this technique was abandoned in favor of a system developed for
purposes of reproducing a selected strain in Hawaii. Stems are cut into
segments bearing 3 to 5 whorls of leaves. The leaves are trimmed to 4
to 5 in (10-12.5 cm) and the disinfected cuttings set upright in beds
until each gives rise to one strong plantlet which is then transferred
to the nursery.
The butts, or bases, of mother plants, with
leaves intact, are laid end to end in furrows in nurseries and covered
with 2 to 3 in (5-7.5 cm) of soil. Sprouting occurs in 6 to 8 weeks.
The butts give an average of 6 suckers each, though some have put forth
up to 25. A one-acre (0.4 ha) nursery of 25,000 butts, therefore,
yields between 100,000 and 200,000 suckers.
The Pineapple Research
Institute in Hawaii has also employed axillary buds at the base of
crowns. Each crown segment may develop 20 plantlets. This method has
been adopted in Sri Lanka for perpetuating superior strains but not for
commercial cultivation because the resulting plants require 24 months
or more to fruit.
In India, because of low production of slips
and suckers in 'Smooth Cayenne', crown cuttings (15-16 per crown) have
been adopted for propagation with 95% success, and this method is
considered more economical than the utilization of butts.
propagation does not assure facsimile reproduction of pineapple
cultivars, as many mutations and distinct clones have occurred in spite
land should be well prepared at the outset because the pineapple is
shallow-rooted and easily damaged by post-planting cultivation.
Fumigation of the soil contributes to high quality and high yields.
In small plots or on very steep slopes, planting is done manually using
the traditional short-handled narrow-bladed hoe, the handle of which,
12 in (30 cm) long, is used to measure the distance between plants.
Crowns are set firmly at a depth of 2 in (5 cm); slips and suckers at 3
1/2 to 4 in (9 10 cm). Butts, after trimming and drying for several
days, are laid end-to-end in furrows and covered with 4 in (10 cm) of
Double-rowing has been standard practice for many years,
the plantlets set 10 to 12 in (25 30 cm) apart and staggered, not
opposite, in the common rows, and with 2 ft (60 cm) between the two
rows. An alley 3, 5 1/2 or 6 ft (.9, 1.6 or 1.8 m) wide is maintained
between the pairs, allowing for plant populations of 17,400, 15,800 or
14,500 per acre (42,700, 37,920 or 33,800 per ha) respectively. Close
spacing gives highest total crop weight—e.g.. 18,000
= 28.8 tons (43,200 plants/ha = 69.12 tons). However, various trials
have shown that overcrowding has a negative effect, reducing fruit size
and elongating the form undesirably, and it reduces the number of slips
and suckers per plant. Density trials with 'P.R. 1-67' in Puerto Rico
demonstrated that 21,360 plants per acre (51,265/ha) yielded 35.8
tons/:acre (86 tons/ha) in the main crop and 18.9 tons/acre (45.43
tons/ha) in the ratoon crop, but only one slip per plant for
replanting. Excessively wide spacing tends to induce multiple crowns in
'Smooth Cayenne' in Hawaii and in 'Red Spanish' in Puerto Rico.
plantings are mulched with bagasse. In large operations,
asphalt-treated paper, or black plastic mulch is regarded as essential.
It retards weeds, retains warmth in cool seasons, reduces loss of soil
moisture, and can be laid by machines during the sterilization and
pre-fertilization procedures. Mulch necessitates removal of basal
leaves of crowns, slips and suckers and the use of a tool to punch a
hole at the pre-marked planting site for the insertion of each
plantlet. The mulch is usually rolled onto rounded beds 3 1/4 ft (1 m)
Research on the potential of machines to replace the hard labor of
planting pineapples was begun in Hawaii in 1945. A homemade device was
first employed in Queensland in 1953. Early semi-mechanical planters
were self propelled platforms with driver and two men who made the
holes in the mulch and set the plants in place. With a 2-row planter, 3
men can set 7,000 plants per hour of operation. Frequent stops are
necessary to reload with planting material. With improved equipment,
mechanical planting has become standard practice in large plantations
everywhere. The most sophisticated machines have attachments which
concurrently apply premixed fertilizer and lay a broad center strip of
mulch, set the plantlets along each edge, and place a narrow strip
along the outer sides. The only manual operation, apart from driving,
is feeding of the plantlets to the planting unit. With this system, up
to 50,000 plants have been set out per day.
Nitrogen is essential to the increase of fruit size and total yield.
Fertilizer trials in Kenya show that a total of 420 lbs N/acre (471.7
kg/ha) in 4 equal applications during the first year is beneficial,
whereas no advantage is apparent from added potassium and, phosphorus.
Puerto Rican studies have indicated that maximum yields are achieved by
urea sprays supplying 147 lbs N/acre (151 kg/ha). In Queensland, total
yield of mother plants and ratoons was increased 8% by urea spraying.
Normal rate of application is 3 1/2 gals (13.3 liters) per 1,000
plants. On acid Bayamon sandy clay in Puerto Rico, addition of
magnesium to the fertilizer mix or applying it as a spray (300 lbs
magnesium sulfate per acre—327 kg/ha) increased yield by 3
tons/acre (7 tons/ ha). On sloping, stony clay loam high in potassium,
Queensland growers obtained high yields of 'Smooth Cayenne' from side
dressings of NPK mixture 5 times a year. On poor soils, nitrogen and
potassium levels of the plants may become low toward the end of the
crop season. This must be anticipated early and suitable adjustments
made in the application of nutrients. Potassium uptake is minimal after
soil temperatures drop below 68°F (20°C). On fine sandy
Puerto Rico, the cultivar 'P.R. 1-67' performed best with 13-3-12
fertilizer applied at the rate of 1.5 tons/acre (3.74 tons/ha). In this
expertmeet, 13,403 plants/acre (32,167/ha) produced 9,882 fruits/acre
(23,717/ha), weighing 31.28 tons/acre (75 tons/ha). In Venezuela, 6,250
medium-size fruits per acre (15,000 fruits/ha) is considered a very
Fruit weight has been considerably increased by the
addition of magnesium. In Puerto Rican trials, magnesium treatment
resulted in 54% more total weight providing an average of 2.7 more
tons/acre (64.8 tons/ha) than in control plots. Fruit size and total
yield have been enhanced by applying chelated iron with nitrogen; also,
where chlorosis is conspicuous, by accompanying nitrogen with foliar
sprays of 0.10% iron and manganese.
Some growers thin out suckers and slips to promote stronger growth of
those that remain.
Irrigation is desirable only in dry seasons and should not exceed 1 in
(2.5 cm) semi-monthly.
Manual weeding in pineapple fields is difficult and expensive. It
requires protective clothing and tends to induce soil erosion. Coir
dust has been used as mulch in Sri Lanka to discourage weeds but it has
a deleterious effect on the crop, delaying or preventing flowering. The
use of paper or plastic mulch and timely application of approved
herbicides are the best means of preventing weed competition with the
Pineapple flowering may be delayed or uneven, and it is highly
desirable to attain uniform maturity and also to control the time of
harvest in order to avoid overproduction in the peak periods. In 1874
in the Azores it was accidentally discovered that smoke would bring
pineapple plants into bloom in 6 weeks. The realization that ethylene
was the active ingredient in the smoke led to the development of other
As far back as 1936, compressed acetylene gas, or a
spray of calcium carbide solution (which generates acetylene) were
employed to expedite uniform blooming. Some growers have merely
deposited calcium carbide in the crown of each plant to be dissolved by
rain. A more advanced method is the use of the hormone,
a-naphthaleneacetic acid (ANA) or B naphylacetic acid (BNA) which
induce formation of ethylene. In recent years, B-hydroxyethyl hydrazine
(BOH) came into use. Treatment is given when the plants are 6 months
old, 3 months before natural flowering time. The plants should have
reached the 30 leaf stage at this age.
Spraying of a water
solution of ANA on the developing fruit has increased fruit size in
'Smooth Cayenne' in Hawaii and Queensland. In West Malaysia, spraying
'Singapore Spanish' 6 weeks after flowering with Planofix, an ANA-based
trade product, delayed fruit maturity, increased fruit size, weight and
acidity. Similar results have been seen after hormone treatment of
'Cayenne Lisse' on the Ivory Coast.
Trials with 'Sugarloaf' in
Ghana showed calcium carbide and BOH equally effective on 42-to
46-week-old plants, and Ethrel performed best on 35-to 38-week-old
plants. 'Sugarloaf' seems to respond 10 days earlier than 'Red Spanish'.
or the more recently developed Ethephon, applied at the first sign of
fruit ripening in a field will cause all the fruit to ripen
simultaneously. It brings the ratoons into fruit quickly. There is a
great saving in harvesting costs because it reduces the need for
Plants treated with naphthaleneacetic acid
produce long, cylindrical, pointed fruits, maturing over an extended
period of time, ripening first at the base while the apex is still
unripe. Ethylene treatment results in a square shouldered, shorter
fruit maturing over a shorter period and ripening more uniformly.
In Puerto Rico, treatment in 'Cabezona' can be done to induce flowering
at any time of the year.
Meloidogyne, Pratylenchus, Ditylenchus, Helicotylenchus,
and other genera) cause stunting and degeneration in pineapple plants
unless soil is fumigated. In Queensland, nematicides have increased
yields by 22-40%. Crop rotation has been found effective in Puerto
Rico. Turning the field over to Pangola grass (Digitaria decumbens
Stent.) or green foxtail grass (Setaria
Beauv.) for 3 years suppresses nematode populations and benefits the
soil but may not be practicable unless spare land is available for
pineapple culture in the interim.
brevipes and P.
attack leaf bases and cause wilt. The leaves turn orange-brown and
wither due to root rot. Prevention requires spraying and dusting to
control the fire ants (Solenopsis
spp. ) which carry the mealybugs from diseased to healthy plants.
Control is difficult because there are many weeds and other local
plants acting.as mealybug hosts. Some success was achieved in Florida
in combatting mealybugs with the parasitic wasp, Hambletonia pseudococciaa
Comp., though the general use of insecticides limits the activity of
The pineapple mite, or so-called red spider (Dolichote-tranychus
(Banks) also attacks leaf bases and is troublesome during prolonged
droughts, heavily infesting the slips. The pineapple red scale (Diaspis bromeliae)
has been a minor pest in Florida. Since 1942 this scale has spread to
many pineapple districts in southeastern Queensland, with occasional
serious infestations. Natural predators afford about 40% control. The
palmetto beetle (Rhynchophorus
cruentatus), which feeds on palm logs, enters the bud and
lays eggs in young fruits and the fruit stalk.
The sap beetle (Carpophilus
is one of the main enemies of pineapple fruits in Puerto Rico, Hawaii
and Malaysia and is especially attracted to fruits affected by
gummosis. Populations have been diminished by sanitary procedures and
growing of cultivars resistant to gummosis, and chemical control is
In Brazil, larvae of the large moth, Castnia licus, and
of the butterfly, Thecla
basilides, damage the fruit. The latter is a problem in
other parts of tropical America also and in Trinidad.
eat holes in the base of the immature fruit. Fruit fly larvae do not
pupate in 'Smooth Cayenne' but new hybrids lack resistance and may
In New South Wales, poison baits are employed
to combat fruit damage by crows, rats and mice. Rats may eat the base
of the stem and destroy ratoons and suckers. Rabbits in winter eat the
leaves as high as they can reach.
In Queensland, top rot and root rot are caused by the soil fungi Phytophthora cinnamomi
and P. nicotianae
which are most prevalent in prolonged wet weather in autumn and winter.
Improved drainage helps reduce the risk and monthly spraying with
fungicide gives good control. P. cinnamomi may also cause rot in green
fruit on ratoons. These diseases are largely prevented by the use of
paper or plastic mulch on raised beds.
Base rot is caused by the fungus Ceratocystis
paradoxa, especially where drainage is poor. The imperfect
form (conidial state) of this fungus, known as Thielaviopsis paradoxa,
causes butt rot in planting material, also soft rot or breakdown of
fruits during shipment and storage. If 1/4-ripe 'Red Spanish' fruits
are kept at temperatures between 44.6° and 46.4°F
(7°-8°C) while in transit, soft rot will not develop.
spp. in the soil are the source of wilt. Black heart is a physiological
disorder not visible externally, usually occuring in winter
particularly in locations where air flow is inadequate. Highest
incidence in West Africa has been reported in midsummer. It begins as
"endogenous brown spot" at the base of the fruitless close to the core.
Later, affected areas merge. It has been attributed to chilling or low
light intensity from dense planting or cloudiness. It can be controlled
by one-day heat treatment at 90° to 100°F
before or after refrigerated storage. In 1974, the microorganism Erwinia chrysanthemi
was identified in Malaya as the cause of bacterial heart rot and fruit
Yellow spot virus on leaves is transmitted by Thrips tabaci Lind. Black
speck and water blister are mentioned among other problems of the
condition called Crookneck is caused by zinc deficiency. It occurs
mainly in plants 12-15 months old but is also frequent in suckers. The
heart leaves become curled and twisted, waxy, brittle, and light
yellowish-green. Sometimes the plant bends over and grows in a nearly
horizontal position. Small yellow spots appear near the edges of the
leaves and eventually merge and form blisters. Later, these areas
become grayish or brownish and sunken. Treatment is usually a 1%
solution of zinc sulfate. Many growers use a combined spray of 10%
urea. 2% iron sulfate and 1% zinc sulfate. If burning occurs. the
proportion of urea should be changed to 5%. Excessive use of urea for
this or any other purpose can lead to leaf tip dieback and yellowing of
older leaves due to the biuret content in urea.
Copper deficiency is evident in concave leaves with dead tips and
waxiness without bloom on the underside.
or sunscald develops when fruits fall over and expose one side to the
sun, though 'Abacaxi' may sunburn even when erect. Affected fruits soon
rot and become infested with pests. They must be cut as soon as noticed
and safely disposed of where they will not contaminate other fruits.
Dry grass, straw, excelsior or brown paper sleeves may be placed over
fruits maturing in the summer to prevent sunburn.
is difficult to judge when the pineapple is ready to be harvested. The
grower must depend a great deal on experience. Size and color change
alone are not fully reliable indicators. Conversion of starch into
sugars takes place rapidly in just a few days before full maturity. In
general, for the fresh fruit market, the summer crop is harvested when
the eye shows a light pale green color. At this season, sugar content
and volatile flavors develop early and steadily over several weeks. The
winter crop is about 30 days slower to mature, and the fruits are
picked when there is a slight yellowing around the base. Even then,
winter fruit tends to be more acid and have a lower sugar level than
summer fruit, and the harvest period is short. Fruits for canning are
allowed to attain a more advanced stage. But overripe fruits are
deficient in flavor and highly perishable.
conducted with 'Giant Kew' in India showed that highest quality is
attained when the fruit is harvested at a specific gravity of
0.98-1.02, total soluble solids of 13.8-17%, or total soluble
solids/acid ratio of 20.83-27.24 with development of external yellow
color. Some people judge ripeness and quality by snapping a finger
against the side of the fruit. A good, ripe fruit has a dull, solid
sound; immaturity and poor quality are indicated by a hollow thud.
manual harvesting, one man cuts off or breaks off the fruits (depending
on the cultivar) and tosses them to a truck or passes them to 2 other
workers with baskets who convey them to boxes in which they are
arranged with the stems upward for the removal of bracts and
application of a 3% solution of benzoic acid on the cut stem of all
fruits not intended for immediate processing. The harvested fruits must
be protected from rain and dew. If moist, they must be dried before
packing. All defective fruits are sorted out for use in processing.
the work is semi-mechanized, the harvesters decrown and trim the fruits
and place them on a 30-ft conveyor boom which extends across the rows
and carries the fruits to a bin on a forklift which loads it onto a
truck or trailer. Some conveyors take the fruits directly into the
canning factory from the field. In most regions of the world,
pineapples are commonly marketed with crowns intact, but there is a
growing practice of removing the crowns for planting. For the fresh
fruit market, a short section of stem is customarily left on to protect
the base of the fruit from bruising during shipment.
mechanical harvesting is achieved by 2 hydraulically operated conveyors
with fingers on the top conveyor to snap off the fruit, the lower
conveyor carrying it away to the decrowners. After the fruit has been
conveyed away, the workers go through the field to collect the crowns
(where they have been left on the tops of the plants) and place them on
the conveyors for a trip to the bins which are then fork lifted and the
crowns dumped into a planting machine.
Life of plantation
Florida, 'Abakka' fields were maintained for 2, 3, or 4 crops. Some
plantings of 'Red Spanish' were prolonged for 25-26 years. In current
practice, after the harvesting of the first crop, workers trim off all
but 2 ratoons which will bear fruit in 15-18 months. Perhaps there may
be a second or third ratoon crop. Then the field is cleared to minimize
carryover of pests and diseases. The method will vary with the interest
in or practicality of making use of by products. In Malaya, fields have
been cleared by cutting the plants, leaving them to dry for 12-16
weeks, then piling and burning. Spraying with kerosene or diesel fuel
makes burning possible in 9 weeks. Spraying with Paraquat allows
burning in 3 weeks but does not destroy the stumps which take 3-5
months to completely decay while new plants are set out between them.
practices will differ if pineapples are interplanted with other crops.
In Malaya, pineapples have been extensively grown in young rubber
plantations. In India and Sri Lanka the pineapple is often a catchcrop
among coconuts. Venezuelan farmers may interplant with citrus trees or
storage at a temperature of 40°F (4.44°C) and lower
chilling injury and breakdown in pineapples. At 44.6-46.4°F
(7-8°C) and above, 80-90% relative humidity and adequate air
circulation, normal ripening progresses during and after storage. At
best, pineapples may be stored for no more than 4-6 weeks. There is a
possibility that storage life might be prolonged by dipping the fruits
in a wax emulsion containing a suitable fungicide. Irradiation extends
the shelf life of half- ripe pineapples by about one week.
Puerto Rico and elsewhere in the Caribbean, Spaniards found the people
soaking pineapple slices in salted water before eating, a practice
seldom heard of today.
Field ripe fruits are best for eating
fresh, and it is only necessary to remove the crown, rind, eyes and
core. In Panama, very small pineapples are cut from the plant with a
few inches of stem to serve as a handle, the rind is removed except at
the base, and the flesh is eaten out-of-hand like corn on the cob. The
flesh of larger fruits is cut up in various ways and eaten fresh, as
dessert, in salads, compotes and otherwise, or cooked in pies, cakes,
puddings, or as a garnish on ham, or made into sauces or preserves.
Malayans utilize the pineapple in curries and various meat dishes. In
the Philippines, the fermented pulp is made into a popular sweetmeat
called nata de pina. The pineapple does not lend itself well to
freezing, as it tends to develop off flavors.
is consumed throughout the world. The highest grade is the skinned,
cored fruit sliced crosswise and packed in sirup. Undersize or overripe
fruits are cut into "spears", chunks or cubes. Surplus pineapple juice
used to be discarded after extraction of bromelain (q.v.). Today there
is a growing demand for it as a beverage. Crushed pineapple, juice,
nectar, concentrate, marmalade and other preserves are commercially
prepared from the flesh remaining attached to the skin after the
cutting and trimming of the central cylinder. All residual parts cores,
skin and fruit ends are crushed and given a first pressing for juice to
be canned as such or prepared as sirup used to fill the cans of fruit,
or is utilized in confectionery and beverages, or converted into
powdered pineapple extract which has various roles in the food
industry. Chlorophyll from the skin and ends imparts a greenish hue
that must be eliminated and the juice must be used within 20 hours as
it deteriorates quickly. A second pressing yields "skin juice" which
can be made into vinegar or mixed with molasses for fermentation and
distillation of alcohol.
In Africa, young, tender shoots are
eaten in salads. The terminal bud or "cabbage" and the inflorescences
are eaten raw or cooked. Young shoots, called "hijos de pina" are sold
on vegetable markets in Guatemala.
Food Value Per l00 g of Edible Portion*
||0.03 0.29 g
||6.2 37.2 mg
||0.003 0.055 mg
||0.048 0.138 mg
*Analyses of ripe pineapple made in Central America.
ratio and ascorbic acid content vary considerably with the cultivar.
The sugar content may change from 4% to 15% during the final 2 weeks
before full ripening.
When unripe, the pineapple is not only inedible but poisonous,
irritating the throat and acting as a drastic purgative.
Excessive consumption of pineapple cores has caused the formation of
fiber balls (bezoars) in the digestive tract.
The proteolytic enzyme, bromelain, or bromelin, was formerly derived
from pineapple juice; now it is gained from the mature plant stems
salvaged when fields are being cleared. The yield from 368 lbs (167 kg)
of stern juice is 8 lbs (3.6 kg) of bromelain. The enzyme is used like
papain from papaya for tenderizing meat and chill proofing beer; is
added to gelatin to increase its solubility for drinking; has been used
for stabilizing latex paints and in the leather-tanning process. In
modern therapy, it is employed as a digestive and for its
anti-inflammatory action after surgery, and to reduce swellings in
cases of physical injuries; also in the treatment of various other
Pineapple leaves yield a strong, white, silky fiber which was extracted
by Filipinos before 1591. Certain cultivars are grown especially for
fiber production and their young fruits are removed to give the plant
maximum vitality. The 'Perolera' is an ideal cultivar for fiber
extraction because its leaves are long, wide and rigid. Chinese people
in Kwantgung Province and on the island of Hainan weave the fiber into
coarse textiles resembling grass cloth. It was long ago used for thread
in Malacca and Borneo. In India the thread is prized by shoemakers and
it was formerly used in the Celebes. In West Africa it has been used
for stringing jewels and also made into capes and caps worn by tribal
chiefs. The people of Guam hand-twist the fiber for making fine casting
nets. They also employ the fiber for wrapping or sewing cigars. Pina
cloth made on the island of Panay in the Philippines and in Taiwan is
highly esteemed. In Taiwan they also make a coarse cloth for farmers'
The outer, long leaves are preferred. In the manual
process, they are first decorticated by beating and rasping and
stripping, and then left to ret in water to which chemicals may be
added to accelerate the activity of the microorganisms which digest the
unwanted tissue and separate the fibers. Retting time has been reduced
from 5 days to 26 hours. The rested material is washed clean, dried in
the sun and combed. In mechanical processing, the same machine can be
used that extracts the fiber from sisal. Estimating 10 leaves to the lb
(22 per kg), 22,000 leaves would constitute one ton and would yield
50-60 lbs (22-27 kg) of fiber.
Pineapple juice has been employed for cleaning machete and knife blades
and, with sand, for scrubbing boat decks.
Feed: Pineapple crowns are sometimes fed to horses if not needed for
planting. Final pineapple waste from the processing factories may be
dehydrated as "bran" and fed to cattle, pigs and chickens. "Bran'' is
also made from the stumps after bromelain extraction. Expendable plants
from old fields can be processed as silage for maintaining cattle when
other feed is scarce. The silage is low in protein and high in fiber
and is best mixed with urea, molasses and water to improve its
In 1982, public concern in Hawaii was aroused
by the detection of heptachlor (a carcinogen) in the milk from cows fed
"green chop" leaves from pineapple plants that had been sprayed with
the chemical to control the ants that distribute mealybugs. There is
supposed to be a one year lapse to allow the heptachlor to become more
dilute before sprayed plants are utilized for feed.
Pineapple juice is taken as a diuretic and to expedite labor, also as a
gargle in cases of sore throat and as an antidote for seasickness. The
flesh of very young (toxic) fruits is deliberately ingested to achieve
abortion (a little with honey on 3 successive mornings); also to expel
intestinal worms; and as a drastic treatment for venereal diseases. In
Africa the dried, powdered root is a remedy for edema. The crushed rind
is applied on fractures and the rind decoction with rosemary is applied
on hemorrhoids. Indians in Panama use the leaf juice as a purgative,
emmenagogue and vermifuge.
pineapple fruit with crown intact is often used as a decoration and
there are variegated forms of the plant universally grown for their
showiness indoors or out. Since 1963, thousands of potted, ethylene
treated pineapple plants with fruits have been shipped annually from
southern Florida to northern cities as indoor ornamentals.
Last updated: 10/13/114 by ch