Where did pineapples originate?

Pineapples in Hawaii: 🍍history, 🍍facts and 🍍trivia

Ask anyone what they think when you say “Pineapple”, and they will almost certainly say “Hawaii”!

Pineapples have indeed for a long time been a symbol of Hawaii but they are not native to the Hawaiian islands. Pineapples can be traced back to their origin in South America, and are linked together with Hawaii because of the large pineapple industry that was build on Hawaii in the early 1900s. For a while, Hawaiì supplied over 80% of the world’s output of canned pineapple!

The scientific name for the pineapple is “Ananas comosus“. In Hawaiian, a pineapple is called “hala kahiki” because of their resemblance to the local fruit “Hana”.

In our following definitive guide to pineapples in Hawaii you will:

  • Find 14 cool pineapple facts,
  • Learn about the history of the pineapple and how it came to Hawaii, and
  • Read our take on whether the pizza Hawaii comes from Hawaii

#Pineapples originate from #Brazil and came to #Hawaii because they prevent scurvy! #Trivia #Facttwitter shareclick to tweet

14 cool Pineapple facts

Not that you need any extra reason to like pineapples even more, but just in case: 14 interesting things that you may not have known about our favorite fruit:

  1. A pineapple is neither a pine nor an apple, but a fruit consisting of many berries that have grown together.
  2. This also means that Pineapples are not a single fruit, but a group of berries that have fused together. The technical term for this is a “multiple fruit” or a “collective fruit”. You can see a 1 minute time lapse of a pineapple growing from many berries into one pineapple in the video directly below this list.
  3. The scientific name of a pineapple is Ananas comosus. This word comes from the Tupi words “nanas” (which means pine) and “comosus” (which means tufted). Tupi is the language used by the Tupi people, who are indigenous people of Brazil.
  4. Pineapples were historically very useful on long boat trips. Eating pineapple prevented scurvy, and pineapple juice mixed with sand is a great cleaning agent for boats.
  5. Pineapples can “eat you back”! Pineapples contain an enzyme called “bromelain”. This enzyme breaks down proteins in your mouth. So when you eat a pineapple, it is eating you back. Once the bromelain enters your stomach the enzymes are broken down, so you don’t need to worry about being eaten inside-out. Actually, pineapples have many medicinal qualities! . Fun additional fact: workers on pineapple fields often don’t have fingerprints, which could be caused by this enzyme!
  6. Pollination of pineapples is required for seed formation, but the presence of seeds has a negative effect on the quality of the fruit. Possible pollinators for Pineapples are honey bees, pineapple bees, and Hummingbirds. In Hawaii, the import of hummingbirds is prohibited for this reason.
  7. It can take more than two years for a pineapple plant to produce a single pineapple fruit.
  8. Pineapple plants can grow from seeds of through vegetative reproduction (cloning). Cloning is by far the most popular method to grow new pineapples. To clone a pineapple you can use four different parts of the plant: the crowns, slips, suckers, and shoots. The crown is the very top of the pineapple fruit. Slips are the leafy branches that are attached directly below the fruit. The suckers and shoots both originate from near the bottom of the stem.
  9. Have a look here if you want to know how you can grow a pineapple at home.
  10. In Hawaiian, a pineapple is called “hala kahiki”. This is because the Hawaiians thought the pineapple resembled the “Hala” fruit. “Kahiki” means foreign, hence pineapples became “foreign Hana’s in Hawaii.
  11. Do you want to grow pineapples yourself? Then keep in mind that altitude matters! In Hawai’i, the best pineapples in terms of sugar content and sugar-acid balance grow at an elevation of ≈300 m.
  12. Pineapples can be tricked into flowering using smoke! This was first discovered on the Azores Islands using smoke. Later research showed the component in smoke responsible for the flowering to be ethylene. Now, forced flowering of pineapples is standard practice on Hawaii because it allows the fruits to be produced throughout the year.
  13. Pineapple production on Hawaii has severely decreased in the past few decades. Harvest volume now is only a few % of the peak rate it once was 🙁
  14. The last pineapple cannery on Hawaii closed in 2006 and now only fresh pineapples are exported. This is possible because of recent advancements in pineapple cultivation that have produced sweeter pineapples that are easier to transport (the so-called ‘MD-2’ pineapple cultivar).

pineapple growing time lapse

History of the Pineapple in Hawaii

Pineapples come originally from South America, most probably from the region between South Brazil and Paraguay. From here, pineapples quickly spread around the continent up to Mexico and the West Indies, where Columbus found them when visiting Guadeloupe in 1493 . Columbus then brought the pineapple back to Europe, from which it later made its trip to Hawaii.

Pineapples proved to be an exceptionally good fruit to bring on long sailing voyages because they help to prevent, just like oranges, the often lethal disease scurvy . As a side note: the mix of pineapple and sand also is a great cleaning agent for the large wooden ships used to cross the oceans.

When exactly the first pineapples arrived in Hawaii is not certain. It is probable that they arrived together with the earliest European visitors to the Hawaiian Islands. The first documented claim of these early visits was by the Spaniards in the 16th century (source or ). For the astute reader, that is more than 2 centuries before the arrival of captain James Cook! Since pineapples were such a popular fruit to take on long transatlantic voyages, any ship arriving in Hawaii may have brought some of these fruits along with them.

The resemblance of the Hala fruit to pineapples is the reason why pineapples are called “Hala Kahiki” in Hawaiian. Source: Hala fruit by Frikitiki and is licensed under CC BY 2.0

After their first arrival it took them a while to become the great success they are now. Two technologies were essential for the pineapples success in Hawaii. The first one is the development of ocean steamers which made the transport of perishable fruits viable. The second one was the development of canning. Canning made it easy to harvest the pineapples ripe and to preserve their (great!) taste for customers all over the world. The first steps into the commercialization of pineapples were taken in the 1880s, but things really picked up after James Drummond Dole (do you recognize that name?) entered the pineapple world in 1903.

By the early 1960s, Hawai’ì supplied over 80% of the world´s output of canned pineapple. This golden period did not last long though. Growing pineapples became cheaper in other countries and just 20 years later, in 1983, the last big Hawaiian cannery folded. Today, 75% of the world’s pineapples come from Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines.

Does Pizza Hawaii come from Hawaii?

“Does the pizza Hawaii come from Hawaii?”

This question can spark a fierce debate among Hawaiian people. They will almost certainly deny any connection, but is this the truth?

The Pizza Hawaii is a pizza with cheese, tomatoes, ham, and pineapple. It is the most popular pizza in Australia (about 15% of all pizza’s sold there ) but has very little to do with the Hawaiian islands.

Or does it?

We actually think that the pizza Hawaii can trace its roots *back* to Hawaii!

The precursor of the Hawaiian Pizza is said to be the “Toast Hawaii”, which is an open-faced sandwich made with a slice of toast covered by a slice of ham and cheese below a slice of pineapple with a cherry in the middle which is then grilled. This sandwich is attributed to the German TV-cook Clemens Wildenrod who published it in 1955 . “Hawaii” in the name for this toast obviously comes from the use of pineapple, which was then already associated with Hawaii. However, the connection between the pizza Hawaii and the Islands of Hawaii might be closer!

The #Pizza #Hawaii could have Hawaiian roots. Blame Clemens Wildenrod!twitter shareclick to tweet

An uninspiring piece of toast Hawaii. Image credit: Wikipedia (Rainer Zenz)

There do exist recipes of grilled spam-sandwiches including pineapple and cheese that date back to the 1930s. One example is the recipe from the Hormel cookbook from 1939: Put spam slices on buttered toast, cover with pineapple and grated cheese and put under the grill until the cheese melts. Doesn’t that sound familiar?

Spam was a main ingredient in the US army diet and as such came to Hawaii. Spam still is very popular in Hawaii, and recipes including the spam and pineapple likely traveled over the world in the wake of the US army canteens.

The question is then if Clemens Wildenrod was ever exposed to this spam recipe. We think that it is very probable that is the case. Clemens was living close to Wiesbaden after the 2nd world war, and Wiesbaden was the city where one of the largest concentration of US troops was stationed. Of course, we cannot be sure but the next time that someone mentions a pizza Hawaii this might be a nice story to recount — especially if that other person is from Hawaii!


How did the pineapple get its name?

The name pineapple in English comes from the similarity of the fruit to a pine cone. The word was first recorded in 1398, where originally used to describe the reproductive organs of conifer trees (now termed pine cones). When European explorers discovered this tropical fruit, they called them “pineapples” (term first recorded in that sense in 1664) because they resembled what are now known as pine cones. The term “pine cone” was first recorded in 1694 to replace the original meaning of “pineapple”. In the scientific binomial Ananas comosus, ananas, the original name of the fruit, comes from the Tupi (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) word for pine nanas, as recorded by André Thevenet in 1555 and comosus means “tufted” and refers to the stem of the fruit. Other members of the Ananas genus are often called pine as well by laymen. In Spanish pineapples are called ananá (“ananás”, in Spain) or piña, principally in Hispanic American countries. (see the piña colada drink). Many European languages, including Polish, German, French, Italian, Catalan and Swedish use the native term ananas. A large, sweet pineapple grown especially in Brazil is called abacaxi (/abaka’ʃiː/). In Tamil (Indian Ancient Language) is called “Annachi Pazham”. In Bengali, pineapples are called “anarosh” and in Malayalam is it known “Kaitha Chakka”. In Malay, pineapple is known as “nanas” or “nenas”. i got this paragraph from wikipedia. this is not copyrighted


Being the Brief and Colorful Story of a Truly American Plant

By Hoag Levins

THE PINEAPPLE has served as both a food and a symbol throughout the human history of the Americas. Originally unique to the Western Hemisphere,the fruit was a culinary favorite of the fierce Carib Indians who lived on islands in the sea that still bears their name.

Indian Migration
The presence of pineapples on Caribbean islands was not a natural event, but rather the result of centuries of indian migration and commerce. Accomplished dugout canoe navigators, the maritime tribes explored, raided and traded across a vast expanse of tropical oceans, seas and river systems. The herbaceous plant they called “anana,” or “excellent fruit,” originally evolved in the inland areas of what is now Brazil and Paraguay and was widely transplanted and cultivated. Highly regarded for its intense sweetness, the “excellent fruit” was a staple of indian feasts and rites related to tribal affirmation. It was also used to produce Indian wine.

Christopher Columbus
The first encounter between a European and a pineapple occurred in November, 1493, when Christopher Columbus, on his second voyage to the Caribbean region, lowered anchor in a cove off the lush, volcanic island of Guadaloupe and went ashore to inspect a deserted Carib village. There, amidst parrot-flecked jungle foliage and wooden pillars spiraled with serpent carvings, his crew came upon cook pots filled with human body parts. Nearby were piles of freshly gathered vegetables and fruits, including pineapples. The European sailors ate, enjoyed and recorded the curious new fruit which had an abrasive, segmented exterior like a pine cone and a firm interior pulp like an apple.

Renaissance Europe
The Renaissance Europe to which Columbus returned with his discoveries was a civilization largely bereft of common sweets. Sugar refined from cane was a rare commodity imported at great cost from the middle east and orient. Fresh fruit was also a rare item; orchard-grown fruit being available in only limited varieties for brief periods of time.

Pineapple: Treat of Kings
In such a gastronomic milieu, reports and later samples of the New World’s pineapple–whose ripe yellow pulp literally exploded natural sweetness when chewed–made the fruit an item of celebrity and curiosity for royal gourmet and horticulturist alike. Despite dogged efforts by European gardeners, it was nearly two centuries before they were able to perfect a hothouse method for growing a pineapple plant. Thus, into the 1600s, the pineapple remained so uncommon and coveted a commodity that King Charles II of England posed for an official portrait in an act then symbolic of royal privilege — receiving a pineapple as a gift.

Pineapples and Colonial America
Across the ocean, the pineapple took on other symbolic meanings in England’s American colonies. The colonies were then a land of small, primitive towns and settlements where homes served as the hubs of most community activity. Visiting was the primary means of entertainment, cultural intercourse and news dissemination. The concept of hospitality–the warmth, charm and style with which guests were taken into the home–was a central element of the society’s daily emotional life.

Creative Food Display in Colonial America
Creative food display–the main entertainment during a formal home visit–was a means by which a woman declared both her personality and her family’s status. Within the bounds of their family’s means, hostesses sought to outdo each other in the creation of memorable, fantasy-like dining room scenes. At such feasts, tabletops resembled small mountain ranges of tiered, pyramided and pedestaled foodstuffs often drizzled and webbed in sugar, studded with china figurines, festooned with flowers and interwoven with garlands of pine and laurel. Dinners were extravaganzas of visual delights, novel tastes, new discoveries and congenial conversation that went on for hours.

Rare Pineapple: King of Colonial Fruits
While fruits in general–fresh, dried, candied and jellied–were the major attractions of the community’s appetite and dining practices, the pineapple was the true celebrity. Its rarity, expense, reputation and striking visual attractiveness made it the ultimate exotic fruit. It was the pineapple that came to literally crown the most important feasts: often held aloft on special pedestals as the pinnacle of the table’s central food mound.

The Colonial Pineapple Trade
Ships brought in preserved pineapples from Caribbean islands as expensive sweetmeats–pineapple chunks candied, glazed and packed in sugar. The actual whole fruit was even more costly and difficult to obtain. Wooden ship travel in the tropics was hot, humid and slow, often rotting pineapple cargoes before they could be landed. Only the speediest ships and most fortuitous weather conditions could deliver ripe, wholesome pineapples to the confectionery shops of cities such as Boston, Philadelphia, Annapolis and Williamsburg.

A hostesses’s ability to have a pineapple for an important dining event said as much about her rank as it did about her resourcefulness, given that the street trade in available fresh pineapples could be as brisk as it was bitchy. So sought after were the prickly fruits that colonial confectioners sometimes rented them to households by the day. Later, the same fruit was sold to other, more affluent clients who actually ate it. As you might imagine, hostesses would have gone to great lengths to conceal the fact that the pineapple that was the visual apogee of their table display and a central topic of their guests’ conversation was only rented.

Pineapple as Hospitality Symbol
In larger, well-to-do homes, the dining room doors were kept closed to heighten visitors’ suspense about the table being readied on the other side. At the appointed moment, and with the maximum amount of pomp and drama, the doors were flung open to reveal the evening’s main event. Visitors confronted with pineapple-topped food displays felt particularly honored by a hostess who obviously spared no expense to ensure her guests’ dining pleasure

In this manner, the fruit which was the visual keystone of the feast naturally came to symbolize the high spirits of the social events themselves; the image of the pineapple coming to express the sense of welcome, good cheer, human warmth and family affection inherent to such gracious home gatherings.

Pineapple as Artistic Motif
It is hardly surprising that this communal symbol of friendship and hospitality also became a favorite motif of architects, artisans and craftsmen throughout the colonies. They announced the hospitality of a mansion with carved wood or molded mortar pineapples on its main gate posts such as those shown here at a home in historic Haddonfield, New Jersey.

Photo: Hoag Levins

Carved wooden pineapple gate posts at a home in Haddonfield, N.J.

They incorporated huge copper and brass pineapples in the weather vanes of their most important public buildings. They sculpted pineapples into door lintels; stenciled pineapples on walls and canvas mats; wove pineapples into tablecloths, napkins, carpets and draperies; and cast pineapples into metal hot plates. There were whole pineapples carved of wood; pineapples executed in the finest china kilns; pineapples painted onto the backs of chairs and tops of chests.

Tabletop Whimsy
Whimsical pineapple shapes and interpretations became a ubiquitous form for “fun” food creations and general table decorations throughout the 1700 and 1800s. There were pineapple-shaped cakes, pineapple-shaped gelatine molds, candies pressed out like small pineapples, pineapples molded of gum and sugar, pineapples made of creamed ice, cookies cut like pineapples and pineapple shapes created by arrangements of other fruits. There were also ceramic bowls formed like pineapples, fruit and sweet trays incorporating pineapple designs, and pineapple pitchers, cups and even candelabras.

During the last century, the art of food display centered around the pineapple has faded to a quaint craft now largely associated with the making of certain kinds of Christmas decorations. These holiday fabrications are one of the few vestiges of an era when all life literally revolved around the dining room table; a less complicated era that left us the enduring icon of the colonial pineapple, a truly American fruit symbolizing our founding society’s abiding commitment to hospitality as well as its fondest memories of families, friends and good times.

The History of Pineapple

Its origin
Historians believe that the pineapple originated in Brazil in South America. It was imported to Europe later. It is also believed that Christopher Columbus and his crew members were probably the first few people from the European continent to have tasted the fruit.

They imported the fruit and cultivated it in hot houses. Members of European royal families soon developed a liking for it. It gradually became available to the rich, the noble and the elite.
James Dole did a lot to popularize the fruit and make it affordable with his pineapple
plantations in Hawaii, his goal was to have the convenient canned pineapple in every
grocery store in the country.

Origin of the Word
The word pineapple in English was first recorded in 1398, when it was originally used to describe the reproductive organs of conifer trees (now termed pine cones). When European explorers discovered this tropical fruit they called them pineapples (term first recorded in that sense in 1664) because of their resemblance to what is now known as the pine cone. The term pine cone was first recorded in 1694, and was used to replace the original meaning of pineapple

More interesting facts about Pineapple

Recipes and Facts about Pineapple

Pineapple Upside Down Cake Recipe

The History of Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Grilled Pineapple Shake

More Facts about the Pineapple

The natural (or most common) pollinator of the pineapple is the hummingbird. Pollination is required for seed formation; the presence of seeds negatively affects the quality of the fruit. In Hawaii, where pineapple is cultivated on an agricultural scale, importation of hummingbirds is prohibited for this reason.

Wild pineapples
Certain bat-pollinated wild pineapples, members of the bromeliad family, do the exact opposite of most flowers by opening their flowers at night and closing them during the day

Early settlements in America, a pineapple was traditionally given as a gift of friendship.

It takes a long time for a pineapple plant to produce fruit, normally two years.

In most of the world the fruit is known by the name. Ananas,
which is the word from the Brazilian Tupi Indians that means
“Excellent Fruit “

Southeast Asia now produces the majority of the world’s pineapples..

James Dole is considered the “King of Pineapples.”

You can grow your own pineapple by planting the top of the pineapple in soil.

Pulling leaves from a pineapple is not an indication of ripeness as many people think.

Del Monte stopped producing pineapples in Hawaii in 2006.

Henry Ginaca invented the first pineapple peeling and coring machine in 1911. Before this, pineapples were peeled and cored by hand. Ginaca’s machine cored and peeled 35 pineapples a minute.

Every pineapple plant produces one pineapple each year.

A pineapple is considered to be a cluster of 100-300 little fruitlets.

You can’t use pineapple in jello because its bromelain content stops it from jelling.

A pineapple cannot ripen more after it is picked.

An unripe pineapple not only tastes awful, it can be poisonous.

One of the ways you tell if a pineapple is ripe is by smelling it.

Among pineapple facts is one that indicates Thailand produces more pineapples than any other country in the world.

After Columbus first found pineapples, they started to be used on ships to prevent scurvy.

In Hawaii, the word for pineapple is “Hala kahiki.”

212,000 tons of pineapple were produced in Hawaii in 2005.

The bromelain in pineapple is used as a meat tenderizer.

The fruit, peel, and juice of pineapples is said to remove warts.

The core of the pineapple is edible.

It was a rite of passage in the Caribbean for young men to run through the pineapple plantings, and bear the pain from the prickly leaves without revealing it.

A pineapple can be ripe even if the outside is green.

Eating pineapple is believed to induce uterine contractions during pregnancy.

The pineapple pulp left after juicing is used in livestock feed. It is very high in vitamin A.

Do not mix dairy products with pineapple until right before serving.

A painting by Hendrik Danckerts from 1675 showing Charles II being given the first pineapple grown in England by his royal gardener, John Rose. Source: Wikimedia Commons


The Origin of Pineapple

Dole Pineapple Plantation

Dole Company History Webpage

Wikipedia on Pineapple

Why the Pineapple Became the Symbol of Hospitality

pineapple water fountain

The rise of the pineapple as a symbol of hospitality in Colonial times no doubt came about because of its rarity. But the tropical fruit had a long journey before it found its present-day purpose as a refreshing cocktail or the ever-popular upside-down cake.

Introduction of Pineapples To Europe The first recorded encounter between a European and a pineapple occurred in November of 1493, when Christopher Columbus, on his second voyage to the Caribbean region, went ashore to inspect a deserted Carib village. Among dense foliage and wooden pillars carved with serpents, his crew came upon piles of freshly gathered vegetables and strange fruits. The European sailors ate, enjoyed and wrote about the curious new fruit, which had an abrasive, segmented exterior like a pinecone and a firm interior pulp like an apple.

Refined cane sugar and fresh fruit were expensive rarities when Columbus returned to Europe and introduced the sweet pineapple. It was an instant hit among the royal court, but it took almost two hundred years before gardeners were able to perfect a hothouse method for growing a tropical pineapple plant. Even in the late 17th century, the pineapple remained so uncommon and coveted that King Charles II of England posed for an official portrait in an act that was symbolic of royal privilege — receiving a pineapple as a gift.

Across the Ocean In the small towns and sparse communities of the American colonies, two things worked together to solidify the pineapple’s reputation as a status symbol: sparse supply and high demand. Trade ships brought in preserved pineapple sweetmeats–pineapple chunks candied, glazed and packed in sugar, while the actual whole fruit was even more costly and difficult to obtain. Most of the fruit rotted during the hot, humid, and slow sea voyage from the Caribbean to the colonies. Only the speediest ships, aided by the best weather conditions, could deliver ripe, wholesome pineapples to the confectionery shops of cities such as Boston, Philadelphia, Annapolis and Williamsburg.

The Tradition The ability of a hostess to have a pineapple adorn her dining table for an important event said as much about her rank in society as it did about her ingenuity. These beautiful fruits were in such high demand, but so hard to get, that colonial confectioners would often rent them to households by the day. Later, the same fruit was sold to other, more affluent clients who actually ate it. While fruits in general–fresh, dried, candied and jellied–were in great demand, the pineapple was the true celebrity. Its rarity, expense, and striking beauty made it the ultimate exotic fruit. Visitors confronted with pineapple-topped food displays felt particularly honored by a hostess who obviously spared no expense to ensure her guests’ dining pleasure. In this manner, the image of the pineapple came to express the sense of hospitality characteristic of gracious home gatherings.

The Legend The sea captains of New England traded among the Caribbean Islands, returning to the colonies bearing their heavy cargoes of spices, rum, and a selection of fruits, which sometimes included pineapples. According to the legend, the captain would drop anchor in the harbor and see to his cargo and crew. Once his work was done, he would head home, stopping outside his house to spear a pineapple on a fence post. This would let his friends know of his safe return from sea. The pineapple was an invitation for them to visit, share his food and drink, and listen to tales of his voyage.

As the tradition and legend of the pineapple grew, colonial innkeepers added the pineapple to their signs and advertisements, and bedposts carved in the shape of a pineapple were a common sight at inns across the colonies. It is not surprising that this symbol of friendship and hospitality became a favorite motif of architects, artisans and craftsmen. The Shirley Plantation of Virginia, a bastion of Southern hospitality since 1613, has a pineapple finial atop its roof, and the motif appears as an architectural element throughout the home. This tradition continues today, for pineapples are still popular motifs for gateposts, door knockers, and beautiful serving pieces.

Pineapples share a colorful piece in the social history of our country. So which story do you prefer? Do you like the story of a proper Colonial hostess honoring her guests with an elaborate food display anchored by the elusive pineapple? Or perhaps you prefer the story of a swashbuckling sea captain returning from a voyage, nonchalantly spiking a pineapple worth a small fortune on his gatepost, signaling his friends to stop by for a pint and some stories?

Like learning about our region’s history and culture? You might enjoy this video:

In colonial days, pineapples were usually available only in August. But oranges, limes, and lemons from Bermuda and the West Indies were available in the wintertime.

Stay in Touch!

One of the grander uses of a pineapple motif, at Dunmore House in Scotland. (Photo: Otter/WikiCommons CC BY-SA 3.0)

If you were rich 1700s nobleman, had a dinner table, and wanted to impress your fellow gentry, a pineapple would sure as hell be the way to go.

Indeed, if you find yourself at an old inn or perhaps even a new, trendy hotel, there will likely be a picture of a pineapple somewhere near you. It is a near-universal symbol of hospitality. But why? Thanks to centuries of pillaging and colonizing, the pineapple has traveled far and wide and come to represent something more than tasty fruit. Beyond merely being a symbol of welcoming, it has dark imperial roots to show.

A vintage illustration of a pineapple. (Photo: ArtsCult.com/flickr)

Up until the 15th century, pineapples were not known by the Western world. In South American countries like Brazil, they were grown and enjoyed by the locals, but few others outside these countries knew of the pineapple’s existence. Historical accounts claim that Christopher Columbus was the first European to come face to face with the fruit during his second voyage in 1493, when he and his crew found a Caribbean village that ate pineapple. They tried it and reportedly liked it quite a bit, deciding to bring it back to their European home.

The very concept of pineapples equating to hospitality, in fact, comes from these Caribbean trips, according to the World Encyclopedia of Food. Imperial travelers would go to these remote islands, and discovered that natives who hung the fruit in front of their entrances were welcoming to strangers.

A 1675 painting by Hendrik Danckerts, showung Charles II presented with the first pineapple grown in England. (Photo: Public Domain/WikiCommons)

Thanks to their presence in front of villages and local huts, once they reached Europe pineapples became widely considered a gentry symbol of hospitality. The concept travelled to America too, where colonial houses began showcasing the pineapple’s image in common areas. Plantations took up the trend and started carving pineapple-like shapes into columns at their entrances. This, in fact, became a well-known addition to entrance architecture.

The European bastardization of the pineapple symbol, however, meant more than just hospitality—it meant prestige. The richest of the rich bought these fruits, however expensive to show off to other their ability to have them. Since demand relied on the few shipments between the far-off continents, supply would often be scarce. This led to a brand new pineapple rental market taking the European gentry by storm, writes historian Mary V. Thompson. Although, by the 1700s, Europeans started growing them in their own hothouses.

A pineapple adorns the front steps to a house in Greenwich Village, New York. (Photo: Spencer Means/flickr)

All the same, pineapples were considered an extravagance at the time. In America, one pineapple could be sold for as much as the equivalent of $8000,according to Mental Floss. Back in Europe the price was no less excessive, says the BBC, with a pineapple’s value reaching as much as the equivalent of £5,000. It became a trend for hostesses to show off the large spiny things in parlors and dining rooms.

Today pineapples are everywhere. But they’ve come to represent more than just exotic fruit. During the Napoleonic Era, political cartoonists would put pineapples in to represent extravagance. In the 1600s the Christian church adopted the symbol, as architect Christopher Wren began fitting them on church finials.

Pineapples remain a mainstay in the hospitality industry. The very first words of the hospitality handbook Welcome to Hospitality: An Introduction plainly claim that the “universal symbol for hospitality is the pineapple.” Colonial houses still have pictures of pineapples throughout the rooms, and hotels continue to show them off. In fact, the Maxwell Hotel in Seattle uses the pineapple as its very logo. The symbol persists as a homage to past table centerpieces and a relic of the colonial lifestyle.

Pineapples at the entrance of Simmons-Edwards House in Charleston, South Carolina. (Photo: Spencer Means/flickr)

Despite this, the austere pineapple appeal has softened. Beyond a more abundant supply of the fruit, more people began adopting its aesthetic. Sailors, for instance, would bring the fruit home from their travels and place them on their home’s gateposts as a sign of welcoming. This, writes historian Nicola Cornick, led to the pineapple signifying “a sense of welcome, good cheer, warmth and celebration.”

The next time you take a bite out of the fruit, think of its imperial past. What began as a treat for the rich—one which a Royal botanist described as “being so sweete in smell… tasting… as if Wine, Rosewater and Sugar were mixed together” in 1640—has become something more common and hospitable.

Although if you were to ask the non-gentry their thoughts on pineapples in the 1600s, they probably wouldn’t feel so welcome.

The most-visited tourist attraction in the state of Hawaii is the . The second most visited attraction is about 20 miles north: the Dole pineapple plantation. In peak season between March and July, this tropical fruit evokes the 50th state in the Union for many. It’s a strange notion considering that, of the 300 billion pineapples farmed worldwide, only 400 million come from Hawaii. That’s only .13 percent. And while it’s true that Hawaii was once the big kahuna in global pineapple production, it’s an American industry that had a meteoric rise and fall over the course of the 20th century.

While its exact origins have yet to be determined, botanists agree that the pineapple originated in the Americas, most likely in the region where Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil meet . As to how the plant arrived, and was domesticated, in Hawaii is apocryphal. Some sources point to Spanish sailor Don Francisco de Paula Marin, who arrived in the Islands in the early 1790s. In addition to serving as an interpreter for King Kamehameha I, Marin had a reputation for being an ace horticulturalist credited with introducing citrus and mangoes to the island nation. He does, however, provide us with the first written record of this fruit in the New World, the simple January 1813 diary entry: “This day I planted pineapples and an orange tree.”

But to enjoy pineapple meant you had to buy local. In the age before refrigerated transportation, ripened fruit spoiled easily during shipment to the mainland, resulting in high losses of product. Even if pineapple were shipped green, the premature harvesting severely impacted the flavor. The 19th-century development of canning technology provided the much-needed, failsafe delivery mechanism for the fruit; however, high tariffs placed on the good exported to the mainland from Hawaii caused the first canning companies to fold. The Hawaiian pineapple industry wouldn’t take a turn for the better until the United States’ annexation of Hawaii in 1898 after the Spanish American War and the arrival of 22-year-old Massachusetts native James Dole the following year.

Despite knowing nothing about canning, Dole opened the Hawaiian Pineapple Company in 1901, which the local press begged as being “a foolhardy venture.” And in its early years, it did indeed operate at a loss. However, Dole invested in developing new technologies—notably hiring a local draughtsman to develop machinery that could peel and process 100 pineapples a minute. He was also savvy to the power of advertising. Banding together with other local growers, Dole mounted an aggressive nationwide advertising campaign to make consumers aware of his product.

Dole was certainly not the first to introduce pineapple to the mainland American market. Rather, his business savvy and the economic conditions of the times allowed him to champion the fruit. Pineapple was cultivated in Florida, but recurring frosts destroyed the crops and what survived was of sub-par quality. Baltimore had a canning industry, but its fresh fruits were imported from the Bahamas, which heightened production costs due to importation taxes. With the combination of ideal growing conditions, the consolidation of cultivation and production and advertising that asserted the superiority of Hawaiian pineapple over all competitors, Hawaii was poised to dominate the canned pineapple trade. And it did. By the 1920s, it developed into a culinary fad, most notably in the form of upside down cake. (Author Sylvia Lovegreen collects a number of recipes from this era, from classic to questionable, in her book Fashionable Food.)

By 1923, Dole was the largest pineapple packer in the world. The agricultural sector took note and pineapple industries sprung up on other islands. Between 1930 and 1940, Hawaii dominated the canned pineapple industry and at its mid-century peak, eight companies were in operation and employed about 3,000 people. After World War II, the canned pineapple industry spread to other parts of the world, namely Thailand and the Philippines. Not only did these countries provide an ideal environment for growing, but labor costs were significantly lower. (Where U.S. labor accounted for about half of the cost of production, ranging between $2.64 and $3.69 per hour, compared to the 8 to 24 cents per hour paid to Filipino workers.)

The Hawaiian industry began to collapse in the 1960s. In response, the industry tried to focus on growing and shipping fresh fruit with faster, refrigerated means of transportation now readily available. Additionally, the development of the pesticide DBCP in the 1950s was invaluable to the industry as a means of protecting the pineapple tree’s root systems from attacks by ground worms (the EPA would ban the chemical in the late 1970s).But those innovations weren’t enough. Dole’s Honolulu cannery closed in 1991 and competitor Del Monte moved production out of islands in 2008.

The state’s pineapple industry currently exists primarily to satisfy local demands, much as it did before the arrival of James Dole. It is, however, worth noting the one element we lose with pineapple produced on a global industrial scale: flavor, or rather, variations thereof. Chances are, the fresh pineapple you find in your supermarket is the MD-2 cultivar, a hybrid developed because it’s sweet, low in acid and not susceptible to browning when refrigerated—a common problem in the Smooth Cayenne, which had been Hawaii’s industry standard variety cultivated since the 1880s. But there’s a host of other varieties that come in different shapes, sizes, colors and flavor profiles.

Dissatisfied with the taste of fresh, industrially-produced pineapple, the husband and wife team of Craig and Lisa Bowden developed their own variety that evoked the flavors of fruit they enjoyed in their youth. Together, they founded Hawaiian Crown, an independently-owned company in Honolulu. Though just a 20-person operation, Hawaiian Crown has not only carved out a niche for itself in the local farmer’s markets, but is finding distribution in grocery stores. Although the fruits of Hawaiian Crown’s labors are currently available only on the islands, here’s hoping that a new wave of pineapple innovation can re-invogorate an American industry.
Additional Source

Taylor, Ronald. “Hawaii Study Links DBCP to Reproductive Problems.” LA Times, 28 November 1980, pg. B31.

The pineapple plant, scientifically known as Ananas comosus, is the only tropical plant of the bromeliad family to bear an edible fruit. Endemic to South America, the pineapple plant is a terrestrial herb that grows between 2 and 4 feet tall as well as 3 to 4 feet wide. While unripe pineapples are poisonous, causing throat irritation and vomiting. However, these fruits are a unique delicacy once mature. Even though pineapples are often classified as fruits, they are actually made up of many individual berries that cluster and fuse around a central stalk.

In terms of pollination, pineapple plants do not self-fertilize, but rather they are reproduced by means of vegetative propagation from their crowns, slips, or suckers. The crown of the pineapple plant is the shoot at the top of the plant, while the slips are the side shoots that grow below the fruit, and the suckers are side shoots that grow out from the main stem of the plant, close to the ground. Being a tropical plant, pineapples grow best at a temperature between 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pineapple History and Markets in the Americas

Early European explorers to the Americas, who recognized the fruit’s resemblance to a pinecone, coined the English word pineapple. However, Christopher Columbus is credited with discovering the pineapple on the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe during one of his early voyages. Meanwhile, in South America, Guarani natives in the regions of Paraguay and Brazil have cultivated pineapples as a food item for centuries. In the context of the history of the United States, it is said that George Washington first tasted a pineapple in the island of Barbados in 1751 and he is credited with declaring that it was his favorite tropical fruit. Currently, some areas of the United States, particularly Florida, grow pineapples. However, it is still an exotic fruit in many North American households.

Currently, there are more than 30 listed pineapple varieties, also known as cultivars. In some circles, this multitude of varieties is subsequently grouped into four main classes: Smooth Cayenne, Red Spanish, Queen, and Abacaxi. Some of the main characteristics that determine pineapple categorization are size, sweetness, and region of cultivation. For instance, Smooth Cayenne pineapples are principally grown in Hawaii and represent the variety most frequently found in the United States. Furthermore, some of the characteristics of the Smooth Cayenne group is that they are amongst the largest pineapples, weighing between 4 and 10 pounds; they have an orange rind and yellow flesh; and they are known for their juiciness and slightly acidic flavor.

Simultaneously, Abacaxi pineapples, which usually weight between 2 and 11 pounds, are known for their sweetness and resistance to disease. However, the downside to Abacaxi pineapples is that they are very fragile and tender, which creates difficulties for long distance trading. In the case of Red Spanish pineapples, these tend to be between orange and red in color and weigh 3 to 6 pounds. Similarly, Red Spanish pineapples are the main kind grown throughout the Caribbean region. Lastly, Queen pineapples are principally grown in South Africa and Australia.

(Read more about Agroforestry and the Need to Facilitate Pollination)

Why Is a Pineapple Called a Pineapple?

by James Hunt

Ask an English-speaking person whether they’ve heard of a pineapple, and you’ll probably receive little more than a puzzled look. Surely, every schoolchild has heard of this distinctive tropical fruit—if not in its capacity as produce, then as a dessert ring, or smoothie ingredient, or essential component of a Hawaiian pizza.

But ask an English-speaking person if they’ve ever heard of the ananas fruit and you’ll probably get similarly puzzled looks, but for the opposite reason. The average English speaker has no clue what an ananas is—even though it’s the name given to the pineapple in almost every other major global language.

In Arabic, German, French, Dutch, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Swedish, Turkish—even in Latin and Esperanto—the pineapple is known as an ananas, give or take local variations in the alphabet and accents. In the languages where it isn’t, it’s often because the word has been imported from English, such as in the case of the Japanese パイナップル (painappuru) and the Welsh pinafel.

So how is it that English managed to pick the wrong side in this fight so spectacularly? Would not a pineapple, by any other name, taste as weird and tingly?

To figure out where things went wrong for English as a language, we have to go back and look at how Europeans first encountered the fruit in question, which is native to South America. It was first catalogued by Columbus’s expedition to Guadeloupe in 1493, and they called it piña de Indes, meaning “pine of the Indians”—not because the plant resembled a pine tree (it doesn’t) but because they thought the fruit looked like a pine cone (umm, … it still doesn’t. But you can sort of see it.)

Columbus was on a Spanish mission and, dutifully, the Spanish still use the shortened form piñas to describe the fruit. But almost every other European language (including Portuguese, Columbus’s native tongue) decided to stick with the name given to the fruit by the indigenous Tupí people of South America: ananas, which means “excellent fruit.”

According to etymological sources, the English word pineapple was first applied to the fruit in 1664, but that didn’t end the great pineapple versus ananas debate. Even as late as the 19th century, there are examples of both forms in concurrent use within the English language; for example, in the title of Thomas Baldwin’s Short Practical Directions For The Culture Of The Ananas; Or Pine Apple Plant, which was published in 1813.

So given that we knew what both words meant, why didn’t English speakers just let go of this illogical and unhelpful linguistic distinction? The ultimate reason may be: We just think our own language is better than everyone else’s.

You see, pineapple was already an English word before it was applied to the fruit. First used in 1398, it was originally used to describe what we now call pine cones. Hilariously, the term pine cones wasn’t recorded until 1694, suggesting that the application of pineapple to the ananas fruit probably meant that people had to find an alternative to avoid confusion. And while ananas hung around on the periphery of the language for a time, when given a choice between using a local word and a foreign, imported one, the English went with the former so often that the latter essentially died out.

Of course, it’s not too late to change our minds. If you want to ask for ananas the next time you order a pizza, give it a try (though we can’t say what you’d up with as a result).

Have you got a Big Question you’d like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at [email protected]

The components of the Pineapple name

4 minute read


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Pineapples have a unique name. Why is it called pineapple? Is it related to pines? To apple? Why is it called Ananas in many other languages?

Read more to find out Why is a pineapple called a pineapple.

One important thing to realize:

The name pineapple is not the common name of the fruit. In many other languages, the fruit is called “Ananas”, a name derived from the botanical name ‘Ananas comosus’. It is not rare of course that a fruit has a different name in different languages but since the pineapple name is unique in this way, many wonders where the name came from.

So, why is it called pineapple?

Here is the deal:

Right off the bat, we notice 2 meaningful independent words in the name. “Pine” which is a tree or at least a plant in a family of trees and “apple” which we all know as a delicious fruit. So why the 2 allegedly related names to a fruit? Let’s break it down piece by piece.

Related: Learn how to grow your own Pineapple from a top.

The word Pine in Pineapple

Look at this pine cone picture:

image from

In it’s closed form, it is really resembling a pineapple. To the eye, it has the same texture and same look. Even though it is brown, imagine a ripe pineapple with those deep orange-ish yellow color, you can understand the similarity.

The word Apple in Pineapple

Unlike the outer shape and texture resemblance to pine cones, the explanation for the apple has a deeper origin. Stay with me, it is not so complicated.

In the old days, Apple was a generic term for fruits in general or for fruits that the people at the time didn’t know how to call it for the first time they encountered the fruit. Now that is quite a claim but it can be backed up by the oldest story known to many people. You probably heard of Adam and Eve.

Adam and Eve were not to eat the forbidden fruit (or the fruit of the Tree Of Knowledge). But what is that forbidden fruit? Many interpreted it to be an apple. It even appears in 16th-century art, in children story, and in folk stories. But there is no real reference for it to be an apple. That is one example of using apple as a generic term for the unrecognized fruit.

We can find another example in the Hebrew language. An Orange is Called Tapuz (תפוז) which is an acronym for “golden apple”. Again we see a use of “apple” in a fruit that is not related to apples.

Another example is custard apple.

image from

In many languages, it is called “Anona”. We can see another example, like pineapple, fruit got the ‘apple’ word interpolated in the name.

Corrupting names of fruits – Avocado

To go ahead and emphasize the extent of the fruits name corrupting phenomenon, I will take Avocado for example.

According to Wikipedia, the name of the Avocado in some parts of the world use to be “Avogato pear” and later it was corrupted and changed to “Alligator pear” (source: Wiki Avocado).

This is a great example. Names develop. They start from one point and change to fit the sense of familiarity among people.

Using this example, it is clear to see how the pineapple plant name could have developed and transformed into its final version.

To conclude

How did pineapple get its name?

Through a normal process, similar in many languages of naming a fruit by its similarity to other fruits, mainly by the looks of it.

why is a pineapple called a pineapple?

A combination of pines and apples.

Let me know in the comments if you have other examples of fruits or anything that got it’s in the same process.


A pineapple, on its parent plant
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Liliopsida
Order: Poales
Family: Bromeliaceae
Subfamily: Bromelioideae
Genus: Ananas
Species: A. comosus
Binomial name
Ananas comosus
(L.) Merr.

Ananas sativus

Pineapple is the common name for low-growing, fruit-bearing, tropical plants of the species Ananas comosus (also known as A. sativus) in the bromeliad family (Bromeliaceae). It is also the name for the large, edible, multiple fruit of this plant. A. comosus has long, swordlike leaves and the fleshy fruit has a tuft of leaves on one end as well. It is native to Central and South America, but has been introduced elsewhere, including Hawaii, which now is a main commercial producer of the fruit (Herbst 2001).

In addition to serving as food, with its natural sweetness, the pineapple has served in history as a symbol and an artistic motif. According to Levins (2004), the rarity, reputation, expense, and visual attractiveness of the pineapple made it an item of celebrity and the “ultimate exotic fruit.” The pineapple was so coveted and uncommon that in the 1600s King Charles II of England posed receiving a pineapple as a gift in an official portrait. In colonial America, the pineapple became a symbol of hospitality, and served as the pinnacle of an entertaining household’s feast, even being rented to households during the day for display on the table and then sold to more affluent clients who actually ate it (Levins 2004). As a symbol of hospitality and friendship, the pineapple became a favorite motif of architects, artisans, and craftsman in the American colonies, and would be seen on the main gate posts of mansions, in the weather vanes of public buildings, and on walls, canvas mats, tablecloths, napkins, the backs of chairs, in china, and so forth (Levins 2004).

In addition to the hospitality and friendship symbolism of a bygone era, the pineapple reflects the harmony in nature, as it provides food for hummingbirds and in turn is pollinated by the birds.


  • 1 Description
  • 2 The name
  • 3 Cultivars
  • 4 Cultivation history
  • 5 Uses
  • 6 Gallery
  • 7 References
  • 8 Credits


Ananas comosus is an herbaceous perennial plant, 1–1.5 meters tall, with 30 or more trough-shaped and pointed leaves, 30–100 cm long, surrounding a thick stem. Among common cultivars, the leaves of the Smooth Cayenne cultivar mostly lack spines except at the leaf tip, but the Spanish and Queen cultivars have large spines along the leaf margins.

Pineapples are the only bromeliad fruit in widespread cultivation. The pineapple is a multiple fruit, meaning it is formed from a cluster of flowers (called an inflorescence) growing on a catkin, with each flower on the catkin producing a fruit and the entire cluster maturing into a single mass—the pineapple. The fruitlets of a pineapple are arranged in two interlocking spirals, eight spirals in one direction, thirteen in the other; each being a Fibonacci number. This is one of many examples of Fibonacci numbers appearing in nature.

The natural (or most common) pollinator of the pineapple is the hummingbird. Pollination is required for seed formation; the presence of seeds negatively affects the quality of the fruit. In Hawaii, where pineapple is cultivated on an agricultural scale, importation of hummingbirds is prohibited for this reason.

Certain bat-pollinated wild pineapples do the exact opposite of most flowers by opening their flowers at night and closing them during the day; this protects them from weevils, which are most active during daylight hours.

The name

The name pineapple in English (or piña in Spanish) comes from the similarity of the fruit to a pine cone.

The word “pineapple,” first recorded in 1398, was originally used to describe the reproductive organs of conifer trees (now termed pine cones). When European explorers discovered this tropical fruit, they called them “pineapples” (with the term first recorded in that sense in 1664) because it resembled what we know as pine cones. The term “pine cone” was first recorded in 1695 to replace the original meaning of “pineapple.”

In the scientific binomial Ananas comosus, ananas, the original name of the fruit, comes from the Tupi (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) word for pineapple nanas, as recorded by André Thevenet in 1555. Nana means “excellent (or exquisite) fruit (Herbst 2001). Comosus means “tufted” and refers to the stem of the fruit. Other members of the Ananas genus are often called pineapple as well by laymen.


Pineapples sold on the market typically average between two to five pounds in weight, but pineapples can grow to a weight of 20 pounds (Herbst 2001). All have diamond-patterned skin (Herbst 2001).

Commonly cultivated varieties include Hilo, Kona Sugarloaf, Natal Queen, Pernambuco, Red Spanish, and Smooth Cayenne:

  • Hilo: A compact two – three pound Hawaiian variant of the Smooth Cayenne. The fruit is more cylindrical and produces many suckers but no slips.
  • Kona Sugarloaf: five – six pounds, white flesh with no woodiness in the center. Cylindrical in shape, it has a high sugar content but no acid. An unusually sweet fruit.
  • Natal Queen: two – three pounds, golden yellow flesh, crisp texture and delicate mild flavor. Well adapted to fresh consumption. Keeps well after ripening. Leaves spiny.
  • Pernambuco (Eleuthera): two – four pounds with pale yellow to white flesh. Sweet, melting and excellent for eating fresh. Poorly adapted for shipping. Leaves spiny.
  • Red Spanish: two – four pounds, pale yellow flesh with pleasant aroma; squarish in shape. Well adapted for shipping as fresh fruit to distant markets. Leaves spiny.
  • Smooth Cayenne: five – six pounds, pale yellow to yellow flesh. Cylindrical in shape and with high sugar and acid content. Well adapted to canning and processing. Leaves without spines. This is the variety from Hawaii, and the most easily obtainable in U.S. grocery stores.

The two major varieties commercially important in the United States are the Smooth Cayenne, from Hawaii, and the Red Spanish, mainly from Florida and Puerto Rico (Herbst 2001). The golden-yellow skinned Cayenne is longer and more cylindrical and has long, swordlike leaves sprouting from a single tuft, while the reddish golden-brown skinned Red Spanish is squatter in shape, and has leaves radiating from several tufts (Herbst 2001).

Canned pineapple is almost always Smooth Cayenne. At one time, most fresh pineapples also were produced on Smooth Cayenne plants. However, today the most common fresh pineapple fruit found in United States and European supermarkets is a low-acid hybrid that was developed in Hawaii. (See cultivation history).

Cultivation history

Charles II presented with the first pineapple grown in England (1675 painting by Hendrik Danckerts).

The pineapple is endemic to Central and South America and symbolic representations have been found in pre-Inca ruins (Herbst 2001).

The pineapple spread from its original area through cultivation, and by the time of Christopher Columbus it grew throughout South and Central America, southern Mexico, and the Caribbean (West Indies). Columbus may have taken a sample back to Europe.

The Spanish introduced it into the Philippines, Hawaii (introduced in the early nineteenth century, first commercial plantation 1886), and Guam. The fruit was successfully cultivated in European hothouses beginning in 1720.

In 1997, Del Monte began marketing its Gold Extra Sweet pineapple, known internally as MD-2. MD-2 is a hybrid that originated in the breeding program of the now-defunct Pineapple Research Institute in Hawaii, which conducted research on behalf of Del Monte, Maui Land and Pineapple, and Dole. Two similar seedlings, numbered 73-114 and 73-50, were found to have bright-gold, very sweet, low-acidity flesh, high resistance to parasites and internal rot, skin that turned amber when ripe and, best of all, the ability to survive cold storage for up to two weeks. Both versions were briefly marketed, but at the time, could not dent the Smooth Cayenne stranglehold on the Hawaiian industry.

The Pineapple Research Institute dissolved in 1986 and its assets were divided between Del Monte and Maui Land and Pineapple. Del Monte took 73-114, which it dubbed MD-2, to its plantations in Costa Rica, found it to be well-suited to growing there, and launched it publicly in 1996. (Del Monte also began marketing 73-50, dubbed CO-2, as Del Monte Gold.)

A pineapple field in Veracruz, Mexico.

Southeast Asia dominates world production: in 2001 Thailand produced 1.979 million tons, the Philippines 1.618 million tons, and Brazil 1.43 million tons. Total world production in 2001 was 14.220 million tons. The primary exporters of fresh pineapples in 2001 were Costa Rica, 322,000 tons; Côte d’Ivoire, 188,000 tons; and the Philippines, 135,000 tons.

In commercial farming, flowering can be artificially induced and the early harvesting of the main fruit can encourage the development of a second crop of smaller fruits.


Pineapple is commonly used in desserts and other types of fruit dishes, or served on its own.

Fresh pineapple is often somewhat expensive as the tropical fruit is delicate and difficult to ship. Under normal conditions, the starch in the fruit will not convert to sugar when it is off the plant, and thus the fruit should be picked ripe for consumption (Herbst 2001). Pineapples can ripen after harvest, but require certain temperatures for this process to occur. The ripening of pineapples can be rather difficult as they will not ripen for some time and in a day or two become over-ripe; therefore, pineapples are most widely available canned. Pineapples, like bananas, are chill-sensitive and should not be stored in the refrigerator.

Pineapple is a good source of manganese (91 percent DV in a one cup serving), as well as containing significant amounts of Vitamin C (94 percentDV in a one cup serving) and Vitamin B1 (8 percent DV in a one cup serving) (ND 2007). It is also a source of copper and dietary fiber (Bender and Bender 2005).

Pineapple contains a proteolytic enzyme bromelain, which digests food by breaking down protein (Bender and Bender 2005). Pineapple juice can thus be used as a marinade and tenderizer for meat. The enzymes in pineapples can interfere with the preparation of some foods, such as gelatin-based desserts. Fresh pineapple cannot be used to make jelly, as the bromelain in the fruit prevents gelatin from setting.

There is significant evidence pointing to the anti-inflammatory benefits of bromelain. The root and fruit are either eaten or applied topically as an anti-inflammatory and as a proteolytic agent.

Some have claimed that pineapple has benefits for some intestinal disorders, while others claim that it helps to induce childbirth when a baby is overdue (Adaikan and Adebiyi 2004). These enzymes can be hazardous to someone suffering from certain protein deficiencies or disorders, such as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.

Pineapple can also be used to enhance digestion. However, due to its high acidity, some people believe that excessive pineapple consumption can lead to erosion of the stomach lining.

Fresh pineapple may cause irritation of the tip of the tongue in some cases. Some may describe this sensation as a raw tingling. Some believe that dipping pineapple slices in a mild salt water solution will mitigate this effect and may also intensify the pineapple flavor.

Pineapple is traditionally used in the Philippines as an antihelminthic agent to expel parasitic worms (helminths) from the body] (Monzon 1995).

The pineapple is an old symbol of hospitality and can often be seen in carved wood decorations and stone sculptures (untufted pineapples are sometimes mistaken for pine cones).


  • Pineapples and other tropical fruit, in a Peruvian market.

  • A pineapple

  • Pineapple fruit on display at a supermarket.

  • ‘Victoria’, a cultivar of small, sugary and flavourful pineapples, is particularly popular on Réunion Island.

  • Pineapple etching

  • Split pineapple

  • Ornamental Pineapple

  • Bender, D. A., and A. E. Bender. 2005. A Dictionary of Food and Nutrition. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0198609612.
  • Levins, H. 2004. Symbolism of the Pineapple. Levins.com. Retrieved August 23, 2007.
  • Monzon, R. B. 1995. Traditional medicine in the treatment of parasitic diseases in the Philippines. Southeast Asian journal of tropical medicine and public health 26(3): 421–428. Retrieved February 12, 2007.
  • NutritionData (ND). 2007. Pineapple, raw, all varieties. NutritionData.com. Retrieved August 23, 2007.


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  1. The pineapple is the second fruit harvest of importance after bananas, contributing to over 20 % of the world production of tropical fruits (Coveca, 2002). Nearly 70% of the pineapple is consumed as fresh fruit in producing countries. Its origin has been traced to Brazil and Paraguay in the Amazonic basin where the fruit was domesticated.
  2. Brazil, Thailand, Philippines, China are the main pineapple producers in the world supplying 52% of the total output. Other important producers include India, Nigeria, Kenya, Indonesia, Mexico and Costa Rica and these countries provide most of the remaining fruit available (48%). Since 1960, pineapple production worldwide has risen by 400%. With the introduction of the “Gold” variety, developed and patented by Fresh Del Monte in the 1990’s, the production of pineapple has grown again by nearly 50% since 1998. The world fresh/juice/canned pineapple trade has nearly doubled in the last 10 years. One pineapple in two is now grown for sale on the export market. With an increased consumer demand for fresh pineapple and juice totalling nearly 30 billion pounds a year, the pineapple export industry has developed into a complex supply chain. Historically, Hawaii was the world’s largest pineapple producer and source for US pineapples. The pineapple variety that has gained enormous popularity over the last 10 years, known as Del Monte Gold, Dole’s Gold MD-2, and the Maui Pineapple Company’s Hawaiian Gold, was first engineered in the Pineapple Research Institute of Hawaii in the 1970’s. All canned pineapple production in Hawaii has halted in recent years, due to cheaper production costs elsewhere. However, fresh pineapple can still be produced at a profit for sale in Japan, the West Coast US, and for local consumption. There are currently two fresh pineapple operations left in Hawaii, one on Maui and one on Oahu.
  3. Twelve countries absorb 90 % of the world demand of fresh pineapple. The US leads the demand and France, Japan, Belgium, Italy, Germany, Canada, Spain, England, Korea, Netherlands and Singapore share the rest of the supply.
  4. Pineapples dominate the world trade of tropical fruits, although other fruits have gained market share. Statistics from the year 2000 indicate that the pineapple trade took 51 % from a total of 2.1 million tons of the whole fruit market with mangoes taking second place, with 21.7 %.
  5. Dole Food Company, Inc. (Dole) is the second largest global producer of fresh pineapples worldwide, and the world’s largest producer and marketer of fresh fruit. Dole also markets fresh vegetables, fresh-cut flowers, and packaged foods. In 2004, Dole owned and operated on over 150,000 acres of land around the world. In 2007, Dole had net revenue of $6,171.5 million and made $89 million in profits. Dole sells over 200 products and operates in over 90 countries (with a presence on each continent) and has approximately 45,000 employees. Dole is a wholly owned private company belonging to David H. Murdock who is one of the richest men in the world. Dole is vertically integrated, so it controls production, packaging, export, shipping, import, and ripening of its fresh fruits and vegetables. In 2004, Dole sold over 25 million boxes of pineapple worldwide. Pineapples were eight percent of the company’s fresh fruit revenues in 2007. The company reports that its pineapples are cultivated on a mixture of Dole’s farms, leased land, and independent farms in Latin America (mostly Costa Rica), Philippines, Thailand, and other places. Dole owns approximately 6,600 acres of land in Honduras, 7,300 acres of land in Costa Rica and 3,000 acres of land in Ecuador, all related to pineapple production, although some of the land is not presently under production.

Top 5 facts sources:
1. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. (2008). Retrieved Nov, 2010.
2. International Labour Rights Forum. (2008). “The Sour Taste of Pineapple: How an Expanding Export Industry Undermines Workers and Their Communities” Retrieved Nov, 2010.

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