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Growth Habit

The pineapple plant is a herbaceous perennial, 0.75 to 1.5 m high with a spread of 1 to 1.2 m.  It is essentially a short, stout stem with a rosette of waxy, strap like leaves.  It is mostly grown at low elevations in areas with a temperature range of 15 to 30 ºC.  Pineapple is tolerant to drought because of the special water storage cells.  They can be grown with a wide range of rainfall from 600-2500 mm/annum, the optimum being 1000-1500 mm.  Pineapple can be grown in a wide range of soils, but does not tolerate water logging.  It can be grown as a pure crop on plantation scale or as an intercrop in coconut gardens.


The long-pointed leaves are 0.5 – 1.82 m in length, usually needle tipped and generally bearing sharp, up curved spines on the margins.  They may be all green or variously striped with red, yellow or ivory down the middle or near the margins.  As the stem continues to grow, it acquires at its apex a compact tuft of stiff, short leaves called the crown or top.  Occasionally a plant may bear two or more heads instead of the normal one.


At blooming time, the stem elongates and enlarges near the apex and puts forth an inflorescence of small purple or red flowers.  The flowers are pollinated by humming-birds, and these flowers usually develop small, hard seeds.  Seeds are generally not found in commercially grown pineapple.


The oval to cylindrical-shaped, compound fruit develops from many small fruits fused together.  It is both juicy and fleshy with the stem serving as the fibrous core.  The tough, waxy rind may be dark green, yellow, orange-yellow or reddish when the fruit is ripe.  The flesh ranges from nearly white to yellow.  In size the fruits are up to 30 cm long and weigh 0.5 to 4.5 kg or more.


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Pineapple Research Station
Kerala Agricultural University
Ernakulam Kerala 686670