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Pineapple (Ananas comosus), pineapple plant with ripe fruit

Pineapple ( Ananas comosus ), pineapple plant with ripe fruit

Order : Sweet grass (Poales)
Family : Bromeliads (Bromeliaceae)
Subfamily : Bromelioideae
Genre : pineapple
Type : pineapple
Scientific name
Pineapple comosus
( L. ) Merr.

The pineapple ( Ananas comosus or Ananas sativus ) is a species of the bromeliad family (Bromeliaceae). It is originally native to America and is now grown as a fruit plant in tropical areas around the world. It forms fleshy fruit clusters that can be eaten fresh or processed into preserves and juice.

The word pineapple comes from the word naná 'fruit' in the Guaraní language . The Latin epithet comosus 'schopfig' alludes to the leaf tuft at the upper end of the fruit cluster .


The pineapple is a perennial , herbaceous plant . It grows terrestrially, so it has roots in the ground (while many other species of the Bromeliaceae grow epiphytically ).


Fruit-bearing pineapple plant in a garden in Martinique

The club-shaped trunk of the pineapple is up to 35 cm long and a small part is sunk into the ground. At the base it has a diameter of 2 to 3.5 cm, at the thickest point, below the tip, but 5 to 7 cm. The foliage leaves , usually around 70 to 80, sit tightly in rosettes on the whole trunk. The leaves are spiral (in left or right spirals) on the trunk, the phyllotaxis is 5/13. This means that after five revolutions a sheet is exactly above the one below it again, and this is the thirteenth. This is at least true for the Smooth Cayenne variety . The internodes are very short at 1 to 10 mm. The plant is heart-shaped in longitudinal section.

In contrast to most other monocots, the trunk is relatively clearly separated into a bark zone and a central cylinder ("stele") with the vascular bundles. In the parenchyma single interspersed the central cylinder idioblasts that raphides -bundle from calcium oxalate contained in a bag mucus. In the central cylinder no differentiation in nodes and internodes can be seen, in the cortex the cells of the internode area are elongated, in the node area not.


The leaves are narrowly lanceolate, up to 120 cm long and 3 to 7 cm wide. The leaf sheath encloses the trunk to around two thirds. The leaf edges are bent upwards so that the leaf cross-section is crescent-shaped. This increases the bending strength of the sheet. The leaf margin is serrated like a spike. The teeth can also be missing in some varieties. The tip of the leaf is pointed thorny. The sheet is relatively thick.

The epidermis bears the stomata and shield-shaped trichomes on the underside . These are short stalked so that the underside appears whitish. There are significantly fewer trichomes on the upper side of the leaf, they are concentrated here on the basal sections. The epidermal cells have strongly thickened radial and inner cell walls, are dead and filled with a large silicate body. Under the epidermis there is a hypodermic layer of highly thickened, collenchymatic cells. On the upper side of the leaf there is a water storage tissue without chlorophyll , which can occupy up to half of the leaf cross section. Below is the mesophyll . In this are embedded: the vascular bundles with a cap made of sclerenchymal fibers over the xylem and phloem ; Fiber strands; Ventilation ducts made from star-shaped cells. The vascular bundles are surrounded by a tannin- containing parenchymal sheath.

Inflorescence of a pineapple comosus. You can see red bracts and the individual blue flowers. The pineapple fruit later emerges from the inflorescence.
Seed of a pineapple, size comparison with a match head
Seeds in the pulp, the inside of the fruit on the left, the peel of the fruit on the right, cross-section


The roots are adventitious roots that arise from the lower nodes of the trunk. They form a dense network of roots that penetrate about a meter into the ground and reach one to two meters laterally. The roots are usually mycorrhizal . In the above-ground leaf axils also develop roots that can be up to ten centimeters long and absorb water and nutrients that accumulate in the leaf rosette.

The roots have a polyarchic stele with up to 30 xylem strands in the first-order roots.

Inflorescence and infructescence

The 30 cm long inflorescence stem develops from the vegetation cone of the trunk every year. There are over 100 individual flowers in eight spirals on the cone-shaped inflorescence . At the upper end there are foliage-like bracts that form a tuft.


The lower parts of the flowers are fused with their bracts and with each other. The hermaphroditic flowers are threefold, as is usual with the monocot : the bloom cladding sheets are different, the three sepals are inconspicuous, fleshy and shorter than the three purple to purple colored petals. There are two stamen circles with three stamens each. The ovary is subordinate and has three compartments. In each compartment there are 14 to 20 mostly anatropic ovules in two rows on the axillary placenta . The stylus is three-grained. In the septa between the carpels are three nectar glands .

Since the petals leave only a very small opening, pollination can only take place by very small insects. In South America it is also carried out by some species of hummingbird . The opening of the flowers takes place in the inflorescence from the bottom up and extends in total over three to four weeks. The flowers are self-sterile. However, fruit formation also takes place without fertilization ( parthenocarpy ), the fruits then have no seeds . Fruit dressings with seeds are not suitable for consumption as they then form 2000 to 3000 rough seeds with a hard endosperm that are 3-5 mm long and 1-2 mm in diameter. Seeds are not formed in cultivars because they are sterile . After flowering, the flower organs are preserved, the style, stamens and petals simply dry up.

Fruit bandage

The so-called pineapple fruit is composed of the berry fruits of the entire fruit cluster as well as the fruit cluster axis and the tuft of leaves at the top, so it is a berry fruit cluster . It is cylindrical to conical. Size, shape, taste and color are very different depending on the variety, the color of the fruit cluster ranges from yellowish to brownish, that of the pulp from whitish to deep yellow.

Inside the fruit cluster is the thickened, fleshy, but also fibrous inflorescence axis. Outward is what is usually called the pulp, which consists of the berries and the lower sections of the bracts, all of which are fused. The exterior of the fruit stand ("bark") consists of the sepals and petals, the uppermost part of the ovary and the brown, membranous ends of the bracts.

Ingredients of the fruits

The pineapple fruit is rich in vitamins (especially vitamin C) and minerals as well as enzymes (including bromelain or bromelin, invertase ).

The physiological calorific value is 232  kJ / 100 g (= 56  kcal / 100 g). It contains 12.4 g carbohydrates, 0.5 g protein, 0.2 g fat and 84.7 g water. The following vitamin values ​​are available in 100 g: 0.2 mg niacin, 10 µg vitamin A, 0.08 mg vitamin B 1 , 0.03 mg vitamin B 2 , 0.08 mg vitamin B 6 , 20 mg vitamin C, 0, 1 mg vitamin E.


The pineapple is a CAM plant : In dry periods, they open their stomata ( stomata ) only at night and fixes the carbon dioxide in the form of acids . During the day, the carbon dioxide is released again when the stomata are closed and is therefore available for photosynthesis . This mechanism minimizes water loss through evaporation . It is one of the few CAM plants of commercial importance.

Systematics and origin

The species Ananas comosus is only known in culture. It should have emerged from Ananas ananassoides . It is assumed that A. comosus originated in the northern part of the genus area , in an area in northern South America between 10 ° north and 10 ° south latitude and 55 ° and 75 ° west longitude. Based on their molecular biological studies, some researchers saw the need to combine all pineapple species into one species, A. comosus . According to this system, the cultivated pineapple would be the variety Ananas comosus var. Comosus. This view has not yet prevailed, and both the intraspecific relationship and the interspecific relationship of the genus pineapple in the family of the Bromeliaceae (bromeliads) remain unexplained and are the subject of current research (see also Pineapple (genus) ).


Victoria pineapples grown in Reunion

There are a large number of local varieties . However, relatively few varieties are of importance for commercial cultivation. They are grouped into five groups of varieties:

  • Cayenne group with Smooth Cayenne , Kew , Hilo , Baron Rothschild : It is the most important group of varieties. The fruits weigh up to four kilograms, are cylindrical, orange-yellow and low in fibers. The pulp is light yellow and aromatic. Around 2000, the Smooth Cayenne variety was replaced by the MD2 as the most commercially important variety. This is characterized by a higher sweetness and lower acidity, as well as a longer shelf life of one (uncooled) to two (chilled) months.
  • Queen group with Natal Queen , Victoria , Alexandra , MacGregor , Z. Queen , Ripley Queen and Fairy Queen : They are smaller than the Cayenne variety in terms of habit and fruit . The leaves are narrow and short and have curved marginal spines. The fruits weigh up to 1.3 kg. The flesh is often bright yellow. The fruits are aromatic, sweet, have little fiber and are mostly grown for fresh consumption.
  • Spanish group with Singapore Spanish , Red Spanish : The leaves are long, narrow, mostly prickly. The fruits have white flesh, are reddish-yellow, round and quite rich in fibers, weighing up to 2.3 kg.
  • Pernambuco group with Pernambuco , Sugar Loaf , Abacaxi , Paulista : The leaves are long and narrow with small, straight spines and a broad red stripe. The fruits are pyramidal, green-yellow with white to yellowish flesh without fibers. They are grown especially in Brazil and Venezuela for local consumption.
  • Perolera group with Milagreña , Perolera , Tachirense , Maipure : The leaves are broad, long and entire and light green at the base. The fruits are reddish yellow with a rather strong yellow pulp.

Rose pineapple

The US company Del Monte developed a genotype with pink pulp based on the popular MD2 (Del Monte Gold) variety . In 2015, the US patent USPP25763P3 was granted for the pink pineapple with the designation Rosé or EF2-114 . In 2016, the rose pineapple was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration and has been available on the US market ever since.


The pineapple plant in pre-Columbian times

Frans Post : Brazilian Landscape , 1655. A pineapple is shown in the left foreground.

The pineapple was already cultivated in pre-Columbian times and spread over large parts of South America and in the north to Mexico. There is little evidence that cultivation began. However, the historian Fran Beauman assumes that the cultivation process began immediately when the indigenous peoples of the Amazon began to settle down. Since this was about 2000 years BC. It is said that the pineapple has been cultivated for around 4000 years.

The pineapple fruit was used by the indigenous peoples of South America as food , medicine and for making wine and was grown together with plants such as sweet potatoes , potatoes and peanuts . The pineapple was particularly suitable for wine production because of its high sugar content and its year-round availability made its cultivation particularly attractive. Fibers were also extracted from the leaves of the plant, some of which were processed into clothing. In pre-Columbian South America, pineapple fibers were also the material most commonly used for bowstrings .

Discovery of the pineapple plant by Europeans

The pineapple was discovered by Christopher Columbus on his second voyage to Guadeloupe for Europe on November 4, 1493 . The indigenous people gave him pineapples as a welcome gift. When sugar was still one of the luxury goods in Europe, a cultivated fruit with such a sweetness was a specialty. In Panama in 1514 the first detailed description of the pineapple fruit reflected the enthusiasm of its author, Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo y Valdés . He described it as a fruit that is incomparable worldwide and praised both its appearance and its delicate smell as well as its excellent, indescribable taste. The first mention of the word pineapple comes from André Thevet in 1555.

Pineapple in the painting by Hendrik Danckerts , 1675: John Rose presents Charles II with the first pineapple plant grown in England.

Worldwide distribution of the pineapple plant through cultivation

Before the end of the 16th century, pineapple plants were being grown in most of the world's tropical regions. The rate of spread of pineapple culture around the world is extraordinarily high for the 16th century, with both the rapid rotting of the fruit and at the same time high resistance as well as the easy cultivation after a long sea voyage being described as decisive factors. The Portuguese in particular ensured worldwide distribution with the introduction of the pineapple plant, for example shortly after 1502 on Saint Helena and around 1550 in India. They were also responsible for introducing it to the east and west African coastal regions, so that in most African languages the name for this plant and fruit is derived from the Portuguese word. In most regions with favorable climatic conditions for the plant, their cultivation spread rapidly. The Dutch merchant Jan Huygen van Linschoten was aware of the fact that the pineapple plant was only a few decades old, which is why he described the pineapple cultivation that is now so common in India and the low price for the fruits of the plant as early as 1596. In China, pineapple cultivation was so common around 1656 that Michał Boym , a Polish Jesuit , mistakenly listed it among the native Chinese plants in his Flora Sinensis .

For a long time, the short shelf life of the fruit put narrow limits on the trade. Sailing ships took too long to cover the distances to transport salable fruit from the growing areas to the northern regions of the world. Not least because of this, getting into possession of such a fruit became a status symbol . Probably the first ripe fruit to be transported to Great Britain was solemnly presented to the British King Charles II by a trade delegation from Barbados in the summer of 1661 . It was not until August 1668 that a pineapple fruit was served again at the British royal court, an event that the British architect and horticulturist John Evelyn carefully documented in his diary. A painting from 1677, commonly attributed to the Dutch painter Hendrik Danckerts, shows Charles II being presented with a pineapple plant by the royal gardener John Rose - supposedly the first to be grown on English soil. The historian Fran Beauman states, however, that at the time the necessary greenhouse technology had not yet been developed that would have allowed a fruiting plant to be grown from a sapling. She takes the view that rose could only care for a plant imported from overseas and already bearing fruit until its fruit was edible.

Early successes in Dutch greenhouse culture

Jan Weenix : Agnes Block and her family in the garden of their Vijverhof country estate , c. 1690. The first pineapple fruit grown in Europe was harvested in the Block greenhouses.

Shoots ( Kindel ) of the pineapple plant had already been cultivated and successfully propagated in the greenhouses of botanical gardens such as the Hortus Botanicus Leiden in the middle of the 17th century, so that plants in the botanical garden in the Dutch city of Leiden established the pineapple culture in South Africa. Compared to vegetative propagation , successful fruit ripening in the care of saplings posed a much greater challenge to cultivation in the greenhouse . A uniformly high temperature of the ground and the air as well as very good lighting conditions were required for this. Reliable thermometers for measuring room temperature were only available around 1714, for example.

In the 17th century, the Netherlands was considered the leading country in gardening culture and accordingly the first European successes in pineapple cultivation were achieved here. The decisive factor was initially the development of appropriate greenhouses. The first greenhouse in which, due to the light conditions and the achievable soil temperature, it was theoretically possible to cultivate pineapple fruits, was built in 1682 in the Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam . Three sides of the small house were glazed, the floor was heated from below by peat ovens and further pipes warmed the air of the greenhouse. However, it was not a botanical garden that succeeded in growing pineapples for the first time. In 1685, the gardeners of the Dutch woman Agnes Block grew a single pineapple fruit for the first time on her Vijverhof estate . Block, a passionate collector of exotic plants, was so proud of this achievement that she had a silver medal struck to celebrate the event. The medal bore the inscription Fert Arsque Laborque Quod Natura Negat - skill and work produce what nature cannot . Her compatriot Jan Commelin was similarly successful in 1688/1689, and a little later the son of the economist and philosopher Pieter de la Court , another Dutchman, successfully and regularly cultivated a large number of plants. The son of the economist of the same name was the first to use oak bark mulch for cultivation, which later turned out to be one of the key success factors.

Great Britain - growing pineapples is becoming the fashion of the nobility

Maria Sibylla Merian : Ripe Pineapple , 1705.

The successes in the Netherlands were repeated with Great Britain, the second great colonial power, also because William of Orange-Nassau and Maria II, who were closely associated with the Netherlands, became rulers of England , Scotland and Ireland in 1689 . In the year of her accession to the throne, Queen Mary had the Dutch build the first greenhouses in the gardens of the royal residence Hampton Court . In 1692 King Wilhelm acquired the plant collection of the late Caspar Fagel, who was also one of the early successful pineapple growers in the Netherlands. In 1693 the first pineapples ripened in the Hampton Court greenhouses. The royal example found imitators in aristocratic circles such as Mary Somerset , Duchesse of Beaufort as a collector of exotic plants and one of the first from the British aristocracy to equip the gardens of her country estate with such houses. By 1725, corresponding greenhouses for growing pineapples were already widespread, and by 1770 they were part of the standard equipment of aristocratic gardens and parks.

Often it was Dutch gardeners who worked in these gardens. The Dutch gardener Henry Telende, who worked for a director of the British East India Company , developed the preferred method of cultivating these plants in the 18th century. During the summer half of the year, saplings planted in pots were tended in brick-lined pits covered with glass windows . These pits were heated by rotting horse manure and bark mulch, the pits being covered by glass windows allowed the maximum incidence of light. In the winter months, the plants were placed in greenhouses heated by ovens ( pineries , also known as Pineapple Stoves ). With this method, in which a constant temperature was ensured by constant monitoring, it was possible to grow fruits which were similar in size to those in tropical outdoor cultures.

A luxury good pineapple

Wedgwood teapot , 1765
Dunmore Pineapple , 18th century

Expensive cultivation of the pineapple plant

Growing your own pineapples became a status symbol because it symbolized wealth through the costly construction of the greenhouses, the expensive price of the plants and the high operating costs of the greenhouses looked after by several gardeners. It usually took three years to ripen the fruit and each pineapple fruit was estimated to cost around £ 80, the equivalent of a carriage at the time. Harvested pineapples were not eaten immediately, at least at the beginning of the 18th century, but were part of the decoration of meals that were still served à la française . They were usually served on large silver platters, surrounded by other fruits such as grapes, strawberries and oranges. The pineapple plant became a symbol of extravagance, especially in France after Louis XV. 1738 had a greenhouse built for 800 plants. Lavish luxury was shown by those who, like the Duke of Bouillon, had 4,000 plants tended and several pineapples served on their table every day.

Pineapple as a decorative element in architecture

Pineapple fruits increasingly appeared as decorative elements in interior design. Josiah Wedgwood , founder of the famous ceramic art company of the same name , even designed an entire tea service in the middle of the 18th century that was inspired by this fruit. Stone pineapples increasingly began to adorn goal posts and signal a specific lifestyle. Near the Scottish town of Airth , Lord Dunmore even had an entire summer house built in the form of a pineapple , the so-called Dunmore Pineapple .

Pineapple as a symbol of decadence

Increasingly, however, the pineapple also became a symbol of decadent luxury. It appeared increasingly in cartoons to symbolize extravagance and the British writer George Walker (1772–1847) asked in his novel The Vagabond , published in 1799 , what right a man has to eat pineapple for a guinea when a man is hungry next to him who lack bread for half a pfennig.

Pineapple is becoming a mass consumer item

Larger greenhouses

At the beginning of the 19th century, developments in glass production made it possible to build larger greenhouses. Wealthy aristocratic households now wanted to have pineapple fruit available all year round. Mansions like Chatsworth House had no fewer than 30 greenhouses, four of which were used only for pineapple plants. Articles in British gardening magazines from the first half of the 19th century show the growing ownership of greenhouses with pineapple plants, even among the wealthiest middle class. For this social class the pineapple became an everyday commodity, as the example with the British naturalist Charles Darwin , son of a wealthy doctor, shows: He was so familiar with the pineapple that he compared the quality of free-cultivated Tahitian pineapple plants with the fruits grown in Great Britain could compare.

In an episode from Elizabeth Gaskell's novel Ruth (1853), a protagonist belonging to the affluent bourgeoisie commits the social faux pas of complaining about the price of pineapples and reaps the astonishment of his table neighbors that there is no pineapple greenhouse.

Use of the transport ships operated by steam engines

The use of steam engines to drive sailing ships gradually put an end to European greenhouse culture from the middle of the 19th century. In 1819, the Savannah , a sailing ship powered by a steam engine, crossed the Atlantic for the first time , heralding an era that allowed the import of fragile fruits such as pineapples from overseas. In 1820 a sailing ship powered by a steam engine brought the first large cargo of pineapples from overseas to Great Britain. In 1850 there were already 200,000 fruits that were imported into Great Britain in just three months, according to an estimate by the British newspaper Times . In 1864 the island nation of Bahamas alone exported more than 700,000 fruits to Great Britain, and in the same year the Azores began growing pineapples for the European market.

The devaluation of the pineapple

The Book of Household Management by Isabella Beeton , published in 1861 and aimed at middle-class housewives , already contained the first recipes with which pineapple fruit could be processed. In 1871, the British gardening magazine Journal of Horticulture mourned that the once aristocratic pineapple was now lying carelessly on the greengrocer's cart and being sold for ridiculous amounts.

Canned pineapple as an inexpensive good

Workers on a pineapple plantation, book illustration from 1914

However, fresh pineapple fruits were still too expensive for large parts of the population. In the 1880s, a fruit in Germany still cost 5 to 7 marks (price of 20 to 25 kilograms of rye bread ). This only changed with the canned pineapple.

Increasing the shelf life of pineapple fruit by canning it was already practiced in the Bahamas in 1857, but it wasn't really successful until 1876. Similar attempts were made in Malaya , Singapore, and then Thailand , China and the Philippines in the 1880s . However, this fruit was only canned on a large scale from 1890 onwards by companies in the US city of Baltimore in Maryland . The Zastrow machine , patented in 1892, removed the fibrous inflorescence axis and then sliced ​​the pineapple fruit. Only a further invention made it possible to have the fruits peeled mechanically.

Imported fruits were processed in Baltimore, but they did not always arrive in perfect condition. At the same time, the first daring entrepreneurs tried to develop pineapple plantations in Hawaii . One of the most successful was James Drummond Dole , who set up his first plantation there in 1900, processed the harvested fruits in a canning factory and thus laid the foundation for today's Dole Food Company . The mechanization of cultivation and harvesting as well as industrial processing quickly made Hawaii the leading pineapple-growing area. The first marketing campaign that specifically emphasized the quality of the fruits grown there was started in the USA in 1908. In the German-speaking world, pineapple dishes are still associated with Hawaii today, for example in Toast Hawaii or Pizza Hawaii . From the 1950s onwards, Hawaii was first replaced by the Philippines and later Thailand as the main producer.

Since the term pineapple in Austria and southern Germany also stands for the large-scale (cultivated) strawberry ( Fragaria × ananassa ), the term Hawaiian pineapple is often used here to distinguish it . The term has survived, although Hawaii is no longer one of the largest producing countries.

Economical meaning

The greatest producers

According to the FAO , 27,924,288 tons of pineapple fruit were produced worldwide in 2018, with Costa Rica , the Philippines and Brazil being the three largest producers. The USA with its main growing area Hawaii, once the world leader in pineapple cultivation, is in 28th place with 149,288 tons.

The following table gives an overview of the 20 largest pineapple producers worldwide, who produced a total of 87.9% of the harvest.

Largest pineapple producers (2018)
rank country Quantity
(in t )
  rank country Quantity
(in t)
1 Costa RicaCosta Rica Costa Rica 3,418,155 11 GhanaGhana Ghana 713.942
2 PhilippinesPhilippines Philippines 2,730,985 12 VietnamVietnam Vietnam 654.801
3 BrazilBrazil Brazil 2,650,479 13 AngolaAngola Angola 597,662
4th ThailandThailand Thailand 2,113,380 14th PeruPeru Peru 548.465
5 IndonesiaIndonesia Indonesia 1,805,506 15th VenezuelaVenezuela Venezuela 518.664
6th IndiaIndia India 1,706,000 16 TaiwanRepublic of China (Taiwan) Taiwan 432.084
7th NigeriaNigeria Nigeria 1,664,510 17th Dominican RepublicDominican Republic Dominican Republic 407.108
8th China People's RepublicPeople's Republic of China People's Republic of China 1,573,471 18th TanzaniaTanzania Tanzania 389,595
9 MexicoMexico Mexico 999,593 19th BeninBenin Benin 372.507
10 ColombiaColombia Colombia 900.395 20th KenyaKenya Kenya 349,431

The pineapple fruit is in 9th place in the list of all types of fruit in the production statistics.

Harvest and Yields

In 2018, an area of ​​1,111,372 hectares was planted with pineapples worldwide. The average yield was 251,260 hectograms per hectare, which corresponds to 25,126 kg / ha or 25.1 t / ha.

The yields differ greatly depending on the variety, planting density and location conditions.

For fresh export, the fruits are harvested before the fruit is ripe, and for industrial processing, fruit-ripe pineapple fruit is used.

The flowering and thus the fruit set can be artificially controlled by ethylene or ethyne , since flowers begin to form four to six weeks after a treatment.


According to the FAO, the largest exporters in 2017 were Costa Rica (2,160,320 t), the Philippines (495,440 t) and the Netherlands (250,501 t).

At the same time, the following countries imported the largest quantities of pineapples: USA (1,152,953 t), the Netherlands (286,450 t) and Spain (168,677 t).

Thailand does not play a role among the exporting countries (22nd place with 9161 t) and is an exception, as the pineapple is mainly grown here in small farms of one to five hectares in size.


Growing areas for pineapples


The climatically most favorable cultivation areas are in the tropics between 25 ° north and south latitude. In South Africa and Australia the pineapple plant is still planted up to latitude 34 ° south. In Europe, pineapples have been grown in the Azores (São Miguel, e.g. in Fajã de Baixo) at 37 ° N since the mid-19th century. In the vicinity of the equator , the plantations are laid out at up to 1500 m above sea level, at higher latitudes only up to 500 m. The temperature optimum is between 24 ° C and 30 ° C, below 20 ° C growth is significantly reduced. While the fruit is ripening, temperatures below 21 ° C can lead to physiological disorders, which are expressed in brown spots on the fruit.

At least 800 to 900 mm of precipitation are required per year, the optimum is between 1000 mm and 1500 mm.

The demands of the pineapple on the soil are rather low. The only thing that is very important is good water supply, as even short periods of waterlogging can irreversibly damage the plants. The most suitable are sandy soils and loams . At pH values above 5.5, calcium chlorosis can develop on the plant.

Propagation and cultivation

Saplings, near Negombo in western Sri Lanka

Pineapple plants are predominantly propagated vegetatively , which is done very easily and usually via saplings , whereby a distinction is made between several sapling species depending on where they originate on the plant:

  • The shoots that are most important and best suited for reproduction are those that arise in the leaf axils . They are called shoots .
  • Less suitable, as they take longer to develop, are saplings of the underground stem part ( suckers ), saplings of the stalk base ( hapas ) and saplings on the stalk directly at the fruit base ( slips ). The krona ( crown ) of the fruit can be used for propagation.

More rarely, cuttings are obtained from the defoliated, sometimes divided trunk . In-vitro cultures from shoot-tip meristems result in a very high variability of the plants obtained in this way.

Propagation by seeds is unusual because, on the one hand, the rearing takes longer until fruit formation, and, on the other hand, the characteristics are not constant due to cross-fertilization.

Cultivation methods

Field in Ghana
Ripening fruit in Costa Rica

The cultivation cycle rarely lasts longer than four years. After planting, the time to first harvest is 14 to 16 months in the equatorial regions and 18 to 20 months in cooler areas. The second and third harvest then take place at shorter intervals, but the yield decreases continuously compared to the first harvest. The second harvest yields 60 to 100 percent of the first harvest in cooler areas and only 40 percent in warm, humid areas.

The stand densities for plants for fresh consumption are 60,000 to 70,000 plants per hectare , and for canned fruits 40,000 to 50,000.

Between two growing seasons, intermediate crops are grown, often green manure plants such as Vigna unguiculata ( cowpea ), Crotalaria juncea and others. Food crops are less suitable due to the residual effects of herbicides .

The pineapple is not only grown in monoculture . It is intercropped with short- cycle crops such as peanut , rice , beans, and vegetables . As a subculture , the pineapple is planted under oil palms , date palms , citrus species, avocado and mango .

Fertilization and care

The most important factor for the yield, fruit color and composition of the fruit juice is the nitrogen supply. The potassium supply is also important, while phosphorus is less important. In the stands, the soil must be kept loose at all times. Weeds must also be removed, as the pineapple is easily overgrown due to its growth habit. Important weeds are nutgrass ( Cyperus rotundus ) and Cynodon dactylon .

Diseases and pests

The losses from diseases, pests and weeds amount to around 30 percent of the potential yield.

The pineapple wilt is the most common . One of the main culprits is the pineapple smear louse ( Dysmicoccus brevipes ), which mainly sucks on the roots and causes them to die. Dysmicoccus neobrevipes mainly affects the organs above ground. Other causes of heart and root rot are also Phytophthora cinnamomi, P. palmivora, P. nicotianae var. Parasitica.

Fruit rot occur numerous on such as the soft rot ( Ceratocystis paradoxa , Rhizopus stolonifer and Rhizopus oryzae ), blight ( Curvularia verruculosa , Penicillium claviforme , Aspergillus flavus ), and red stain ( Pantoea agglomerans , Acetobacter aceti ), and the marble disease ( Erwinia ananas , Acetobacter peroxydans ).


Piña Colada served in the fruit, Mexico

Fresh fruits

Only part of the total harvest is exported as fresh produce. The pineapple does not ripen after harvest, it is one of the non-climacteric fruits . Around 70 percent of the world's harvest is consumed as fresh fruit in the countries of origin. World trade in fresh fruits is around 670,000 tons. The most important exporters of fresh fruits are (as of 2003) Costa Rica (to the USA), the Philippines and the Ivory Coast (main supplier for Europe). According to an article in Spiegel, the mass cultivation of the best-selling pineapple variety in Germany, MD-2, in Costa Rica leads to plagues of biting flies and herbicide contamination ( Bromacil ).

Fresh or dry feed for ruminants and pigs

The waste from canning production (the central strand and shell) can be used as fresh or dry feed for ruminants and pigs. The canning industry prefers fruits weighing 1.8–2.0 kg. The total production of canned food reached just under one million tons in the early 1980s. In 1992 the world export of canned food was one million tons, valued at around 600 million US dollars.

Jam, jam, juice, wine and alcohol

The fruits can also be made into jam, jam, juice, wine and alcohol. However, only juice production plays a bigger role. World trade in concentrated pineapple juice amounted to around 215,000 tons in 1993.

Bromelain and other enzymes for meat, gelatine, latex, leather and medicine

The bromelain was previously obtained from the fruit juice, today from the stems of the harvested plants. Similar to papain made from papaya, it is used to make meat more tender. Bromelain is added to gelatin to soften its consistency. In the past it was also used to stabilize latex paints and in leather tanning . As a therapy, it is used to aid digestion and as an anti-inflammatory agent. In preclinical and pharmacological studies, bromelain has shown wound healing and antimetastatic effects. Bromelain is also used for other purposes ( see there ). The enzymes contained in raw pineapples prevent (just like with raw kiwi fruits or raw papayas) the solidification of cake gelatine, an undesirable effect when, for example, a fruit cake that contains raw pineapple pieces is to be coated with a firm cake gelatine topping. The overflowing does not remain soft when using pineapples from cans ; these are pasteurized , whereby the protein-degrading enzymes are deactivated.

Textile fibers

Processing of pineapple leaves to obtain the fibers

In the Philippines , fibers of the leaves of the pineapple plant are processed into textile fibers, called piña , from which z. B. Barong Tagalog and other formal Filipino clothing is made and exported to other parts of the world. The center of the Piña textile industry is the city of Kalibo .

See also

Sources and further information

  • Fran Beauman: The Pineapple: King of Fruits . Random House, London 2005, ISBN 0-7011-7699-7 .
  • Gunther Franke (Ed.): Useful plants of the tropics and subtropics. Volume 2: Special crop production. Ulmer, Stuttgart 1994, ISBN 3-8252-1768-X , pp. 171-196.
  • Beatrice H. Krauss: Anatomy of the Vegetative Organs of the Pineapple, Ananas comosus (L.) Merr. I. Introduction, Organography, the Stem, and the Lateral Branch or Axillary Buds. In: Botanical Gazette , 110, 1948, pp. 159-217 (online) .
  • Beatrice H. Krauss: Anatomy of the Vegetative Organs of the Pineapple, Ananas comosus (L.) Merr. (Continued) II . The Leaf. In: Botanical Gazette, 110, 1949, pp. 333-404 (online) .
  • Beatrice H. Krauss: Anatomy of the Vegetative Organs of the Pineapple Ananas comosus (L.) Merr. - Concluded. III . The Root and the Cork. In: Botanical Gazette, 110, 1949, pp. 550-587 (online) .
  • Marion C. Okimoto: Anatomy and Histology of the Pineapple Inflorescence and Fruit. In: Botanical Gazette, 110, 1948, pp. 217-231 (online) .
  • Reinhard Lieberei, Christoph Reisdorff: Crop science - founded by Wolfgang Franke. 7th edition. Thieme-Verlag, Stuttgart 2007, ISBN 978-3-13-530407-6 , p. 207 ff.
  • Sabine Matuszak-Renger, Juraj Paule, Sascha Heller, Elton MC Leme, Gerardo M. Steinbeisser, Michael HJ Barfuss, Georg Zizka: Phylogenetic relationships among Ananas and related taxa (Bromelioideae, Bromeliaceae) based on nuclear, plastid and AFLP data . In: Plant Systematics and Evolution, Springer Vienna , 606, 2018, pp. 1–11, ISSN 0378-2697, https: // doi: + 10.1007 / s00606-018-1514-3 (, / accessed on June 12, 2018) ( online May 3, 2018 ).

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further reading

  • DP Bartholomew, RE Paull, KG Rohrbach (Ed.): The Pineapple: Botany, Production and Uses. CABI Publishing, Oxford 2003, ISBN 0-85199-503-9 .

Web links

Wiktionary: Pineapple  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Pineapples  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Commons : Pineapple  album with pictures, videos and audio files
This version was added to the list of articles worth reading on August 19, 2007 .