The bromeliad Ananas, which include Ananas comosus (pineapple), are famous worldwide.
The pineapple was growing throughout tropical America when the Spaniards arrived at the end of the fifteenth century. The genus name comes from the Guarini Indian words "a; fruit" and "nana; excellent."
They are short-stemmed terrestrials with leaves that can grow three or more feet tall outdoors. Most ananas have hooked spines on each side of the leaf. In many tropical areas, pineapple plants are used to make a strong and secure hedge.
When growing pineapples to eat, the spines are unimportant. One of the best-flavored varieties, 'Smooth Cayenne,' has no spines. The flower spike grows out of the center of the plant.
After fertilization, the mass of lavender flowers fuses into the fruit with the main growing point continuing in the tuft of leaves on top. This tuft can be twisted out of the top of the pineapple, planted, and the whole growth process repeated.
There are also varieties with cream, pink, or almost white, striped leaves. Ananas ananassoides and Ananas nana are very similar in appearance but are much smaller than Ananas comosus and are easier to grow under artificial light.
Indoors, all produce very small fruits which, although edible, do not provide much more than a pleasant fragrance. Give them any house temperature, bright to filtered light, and keep the soil evenly moist.
Has reading about bromeliads encouraged you to start flexing your green thumb? For more information on gardening, see: