Flora of the Hawaiian Islands
Literature for Ananas comosus
Brown, 1931; Feng Li, 2009; Smith, 1979.
   Bromeliaceae Bibliography
      Ananas comosus
General Information
DistributionNative to South America.
Perennial herbs reaching c.1 m tall, with short to long, thick stems, sometimes creeping and branching to form clumps, with adventitious roots.
Leaves tough, narrowly lanceolate, 30-100 cm long, 3-6 cm wide basally, margins coarsely spinulose-serrate with spines to 2 mm long, or entire in certain cultivars, both surfaces initially with thin, densely appressed indument of white peltate scales, adaxially glabrescent; veins numerous, closely spaced, parallel.
Inflorescence terminal, on a short bracteate scape 1-1.5 cm diam., cylindrical, many flowered; floral bracts triangular-ovate, curved upward, 2-3 cm long x 1-1.5 cm wide, margin spinulose-serrate or entire. Flowers 100-200, arranged spirally, fused into a fleshy compound fruit; sepals fused, slightly asymmetric, apex acute; petals violet or reddish, free but connivent and tubelike; stamens 6, included; ovary inferior.
Syncarp subglobose, ovoid, or elongate, 15 cm or longer at maturity, when ripe becoming yellow to orange or red, fleshy and fragrant.
Seeds small, brown, oblong, usually not forming in cultivation.
Native to South America (Parana-Paraguay River area), but grown throughout the tropics for its edible syncarp with juicy, acid flesh. According to Brown (1931), the pineapple varieties cultivated by the ancient Marquesans were characterized by long creeping stems and small but extremely fragrant fruits that were eaten or used for leis (hei) or scenting coconut oil. The leaves furnish a fiber once used for fishlines. Remnant plantings of these old cultivars still occur on some islands(e.g., Fatu Hiva, Ua Pou).
David Lorence