pineapple

pineapple, common name for one member of and for the Bromeliaceae, a family of chiefly epiphytic herbs and small shrubs native to the American tropics and subtropics. The spiny leaves of various species of the genus Ananas yield a hard fiber called gravata in South America and piña, or pineapple cloth, in the Philippines. A. sativa is the cultivated pineapple. The fruit, whose spiny skin is yellowish brown when ripe, is sweet and juicy; it is topped by a distinctive rosette of green leaves. It is grown throughout warmer regions. Thailand, the Philippines, and Brazil are the largest producers of canned pineapple. A compound derived from pineapple, branelain, is used as an anti-inflammatory. Species of Ananas, Tillsandia, and other genera are sometimes cultivated as ornamentals. Spanish moss ( T. usenoides ) is a member of this family. Many epiphytic bromeliads, growing in moist tropical American forests, have become highly modified for retaining water between rainfalls. The pineapple family is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Liliopsida, order Bromeliales.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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