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Ananas comosus (L.) Merr.


KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassLiliopsidaMonocots (plants with a single seed leaf); includes the lily family
SubclassZingiberidaeGingers and related plants
OrderBromelialesBromeliads: tropical plants adapted to limited water, often epiphytes
FamilyBromeliaceaeBromelias: tropical and subtropical plants, the best known being pineapple
GenusAnanasEither directly from Old Tupi nanas (“excellent fruit”), or the name for pineapples

About plant names...

Pineapples are natives of Paraguay and southern Brazil, although they are cultivated in many places in the US. They are bromeliads, the only bromeliads that are cultivated for food. Like most members of this family, pineapples store water, trapping it within tightly overlapped leaf bases.

Identification: Pineapples are cultivated in Hawaii and they do not spread in the wild, so you aren't likely to encounter them outside of gardens or commercial growers. The pineapple is a series of fruits fused around a central stalk, with tough, spiky leaves emerging from the top, and this arrangement is very distinctive. (Though see the pineapple lily for a curious, albeit unrelated, plant.)

Edibility: Pineapple fruit is prized for its sweet, acid flavor. It contains an enzyme that tenderizes meat, making it a good component for marinades. Medically, this same enzyme is used to treat edema and inflammation, along with various uses in folk medicine.

Online References:


Dr. T. Ombrello’s Plant of the Week site

Purdue University's Center for New Crops and Plants Products


Purdue University's Center for New Crops and Plants Products

Forest and Kim Starr’s Starr Environmental site

Hawaiian Plants and Tropical Flowers

Professor Arthur C. Gibson’s UCLA site on Plants and Civilization

Ananas ananas (L.) Voss

Bromelia comosa L.


Ananas comosus description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 25 May 2020.

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Ananas comosus (pineapple)

4/6/2011 · Howard Peters Rawlings Conservatory & Botanic Gardens, Druid Hill Park, Baltimore, Mary­land
≈ 16 × 24" (41 × 62 cm)

Ananas comosus (pineapple)

8/21/2004 · Hawaii Botanical Gardens, Hawaii


About this map...