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Ananas comosus (L.) Merr.

Ananas comosus (L.) Merr.

Family

Bromeliaceae

Synonyms

Bromelia comosa L., Ananas sativus (Lindley) Schultes f.

Vernacular Names

Malaysia

Nanas, nanas pager.

English Pineapple, ananas.
Indonesia Nanas (Javanese), danas (Sundanese), nanèh (Sumatra).
Thailand Yaannat (Peninsular), sapparot (Central), bonat (Chiang Mai).
Philippines Apangdan (Bontok), piña (Spanish).
Cambodia Maneas, moneah.
Laos Ananas, nat.
Vietnam Dúa, thom.
French

Ananas, pain de sucre.

Geographical Distributions

Ananas comosus has its origin in South America where it was domesticated before the time of Columbus. In the 16th Century, the Spaniards took the pineapple to the Philippines and Peninsular Malaysia and possibly also Indonesia. The crop is now widely grown throughout the tropics and into the subtropics. The international canning industry is based on plantations in Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia and north Sumatra as well as in Hawaii, Brazil, Taiwan, South Africa, Kenya, Ivory Coast, Mexico and Puerto Rico.

Description

Ananas comosus is a perennial or biennial herb that can grow up to 50-150 cm tall. The leaves are sword-shaped, measure up to 1 m or more long, 5-8 cm wide, with spiny or almost entire margin, their top ending in a fine point, fleshy, fibrous, grooved on the upper surface, arranged in a close spiral and clasping the main axis at their base.

The inflorescence is compact with numerous (up to 200) reddish-purple sessile flowers where each flower is subtended by a pointed bract. There are 3 short and fleshy sepals. There are 3 petals that form a tube which encloses 6 stamens and a narrow style with 3-branched stigma.

The fruit is coenocarpium, which is formed by the extensive thickening of the axis of the inflorescence and by the fusion of the small berry-like individual fruits. The hard rind of the fruit is formed by the persistent sepals and floral bracts, which are more or less fused. On average, the fruit is cylindrical, measuring about 20 cm long and 14 cm in diametre and weighing 1-2.5 kg. The fruit is surmounted by a rosette of short, stiff, spirally arranged leaves, which is called 'crown'. The flesh is pale to golden yellow and usually seedless. Beside the 'crown', 'slips' (shoots growing on the stem below the fruit) and 'suckers' (shoots growing in leaf axils lower down the stem) formed can be used for vegetative propagation.

Ecology / Cultivation

Ananas comosus is cultivated between 25°N and 25°S. The temperature for cultivation ranges from 23-32°C, although the plant can be grown in areas where temperature drops as low as 10°C. However, the plant does not tolerate frost and the fruit is sensitive to sunburn. Crop duration increases substantially further away from the equator and at higher elevations. Moreover, sensitivity to day length has the effect of making the crop more seasonal at higher latitudes. Within the limits of its distribution, the mean annual sunshine varies from about 33-71% of the maximum duration, with a mean annual value of 2000 hours. In Kenya, it is grown at elevations of 1800 m where fruits develop sugar:acid ratio of 16:1, which is ideal for canning purpose. At higher elevations, fruits become too acidic. The plants are tolerant to drought and a wide range of rainfall; 1000-1500 mm per annum is considered optimal. A well-drained sandy loam is preferred, with high organic matter content and pH 4.5-6.5. However, plants can be grown in a wide range of soil types, such as the acid peats (pH 3-5) in Malaysia. Drainage should be thorough, because waterlogged plants quickly succumb to root rot.

Line Drawing / Photograph

Ananas_comosus

References

  1. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No.2: Edible fruits and nuts.

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