The pineapple (Ananas comosus) is a tropical plant with an edible multiple fruit consisting of coalesced berries, also called pineapples,and the most economically significant plant in the family Bromeliaceae.
Pineapples may be cultivated from the offset produced at the top of the fruit, possibly flowering in five to ten months and fruiting in the following six months. Pineapples do not ripen significantly after harvest.In 2016, Costa Rica, Brazil, and the Philippines accounted for nearly one-third of the world’s production of pineapples.
The plant is indigenous to South America and is said to originate from the area between southern Brazil and Paraguay however, little is known about the origin of the domesticated pineapple (Pickersgill, 1976). MS Bertoni (1919) considered the Paraná–Paraguay River drainages to be the place of origin of A. comosus.The natives of southern Brazil and Paraguay spread the pineapple throughout South America, and it eventually reached the Caribbean, Central America, and Mexico, where it was cultivated by the Mayas and the Aztecs. Columbus encountered the pineapple in 1493 on the leeward island of Guadeloupe. He called it piña de Indes, meaning “pine of the Indians”, and brought it back with him to Spain, thus making the pineapple the first bromeliad to be introduced by humans outside of the New World. The Spanish introduced it into the Philippines, Hawaii (introduced in the early 19th century, first commercial plantation 1886), Zimbabwe, and Guam. The fruit is said to have been first introduced in Hawaii when a Spanish ship brought it there in the 1500s. The Portuguese took the fruit from Brazil and introduced it into India by 1550.
The pineapple was brought to northern Europe by the Dutch from their colony in Surinam. The first pineapple to be successfully cultivated in Europe, is said to have been grown by Pieter de la Court at Meerburg in 1658. In England, a huge “pineapple stove” needed to grow the plants had been built at the Chelsea Physic Garden in 1723. In France, King Louis XV was presented with a pineapple that had been grown at Versailles in 1733. Catherine the Great ate pineapples grown on her own estates before her death in 1796. Because of the expense of direct import and the enormous cost in equipment and labour required to grow them in a temperate climate, using hothouses called “pineries”, pineapples soon became a symbol of wealth. They were initially used mainly for display at dinner parties, rather than being eaten, and were used again and again until they began to rot.By the second half of the 18th century, the production of the fruit on British estates had become the subject of great rivalry between wealthy aristocrats.John Murray, 4th Earl of Dunmore built a hothouse on his estate surmounted by a huge stone cupola 14 metres tall in the shape of the fruit; it is known as the Dunmore Pineapple.
John Kidwell is credited with the introduction of the pineapple industry to Hawaii; large-scale pineapple cultivation by US companies began in the early 1900s. Among the most famous and influential pineapple industrialists was James Dole, who moved to Hawaii in 1899and started a pineapple plantation in 1900.The companies Dole and Del Monte began growing pineapples on the island of Oahu in 1901 and 1917, respectively. Dole’s pineapple company began with the acquisition of 60 acres (24 ha) of land in 1901, and grew into a major company, the Dole Food Company. Maui Pineapple Company began pineapple cultivation on the island of Maui in 1909.]
In the US, in 1986, the Pineapple Research Institute was dissolved and its assets divided between Del Monte and Maui Land and Pineapple. Del Monte took cultivar ’73–114′, dubbed ‘MD-2’, to its plantations in Costa Rica, found it to be well-suited to growing there, and launched it publicly in 1996 as ‘Gold Extra Sweet’, while Del Monte also began marketing ’73–50′, dubbed ‘CO-2’, as ‘Del Monte Gold’.
Dole ceased its cannery operations in Honolulu in 1991, and in 2008, Del Monte terminated its pineapple-growing operations in Hawaii. In 2009, the Maui Pineapple Company reduced its operations to supply pineapples only locally on Maui, and by 2013, only the Dole Plantation on Oahu grew pineapples in a volume of about 0.1 percent of the world’s production.
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