The origin of…Pineapple

“When life gives you lemons, sell them and buy a pineapple. How to better your life 101.” Davin Turney

Post 94 Pineapple

The pineapple (Ananas comosus) is a tropical plant with edible fruits consisting of coalesced berries. It is indigenous to South America and is thought to have originated from the area between southern Brazil and Paraguay. From here the plant was spread to the Caribbean, Central America and Mexico.
Columbus first got to know the pineapple in 1493 on Guadeloupe and brought it to Europe. He called it piña de Indes, pine of the Indians. In Europe back then 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. The pineapple became a an item of curiosity for royals and horticulturist and despite persistent efforts by European gardeners, it was nearly two centuries before they were able to perfect a hothouse method for growing a pineapple plant. Because of the expense of direct import and the enormous cost in equipment and labor required to grow them in a temperate climate, using hothouses called “pineries”, pineapples became a symbol of wealth. They became so sought after 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.
In later centuries, sailors brought the pineapple home to New England, where a fresh pineapple displayed on the porch meant that the sailor was home from foreign ports and ready to welcome visitors.

It is unknown when the pineapple was introduced in Hawaii, (halakahiki, foreign fruit in Hawaiian). Francisco de Paula Marin, a Spanish adventurer who became a trusted advisor to King Kamehameha the Great, successfully planted pineapples in the early 1800s. Later on Captain John Kidwell founded Hawaii’s pineapple industry, importing and testing a number of varieties in the 1800s for commercial crop potential. Among the most famous and influential pineapple businessmen was James Dole who moved to Hawaii in 1899 and started a pineapple plantation in 1900.

During the first half of the 16th century, the Portugquese brought the pineapple to Africa, Madagascar, India and possibly China.
The Dutch brought the plant to Northern Europe from their colonies Java, Surinam and Curaçao.

More info:

a large fruit that grows on a tropical tree and that has thick skin and very sweet, juicy, yellow flesh (source: Merriam Webster).

The English word pineapple comes from the words pine and apple. The word was used for the fruit because of its resemblance to a pine cone.
Dutch ananas and Italian ananas come from the Tupi word nanas, excellent fruit.
Spanish piña also means pine cone and the same word was used for the tropical fruit because of its resemblance to a pine cone.

Pineapple in other languages:
Dutch: de ananas
Spanish: la piña
Italian: l´ananas (m)


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