ananas comosus

Ananas

The genus Ananas pilli to the Bromeliad family (Bromeliaceae). It is best known for the species Ananas comosus, the pineapple.

This genus originated in Mesoamerica and was brought to the Caribbean Islands by the Carib natives. The oldest register with the representation of the fruit seems to be included in the Cascajal Block, attributed to the Olmec civilization.

In 1493, Christopher Columbus first saw plants of this genus in Guadeloupe. It was brought to Europe, and from there was distributed to the Pacific Islands by the Spanish and the English. Commercial pineapple plantations were established in Hawaii, the Philippines, Southeast Asia, Florida and Cuba. The pineapple has become one of the world's most popular fruits.

The tough leaves grow in large rosettes, arising basally from a crown. These leaves are long and lanceolate with a serrate or thorny margin. The flowers, arising from the heart of the rosette, each have their own sepals. They grow into a compact head on a short, robust stalk. The sepals become fleshy and juicy and develop into the well-known complex form of the pseudocarp fruit, crowned by a rosette of leaves.

Ananas species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Batrachedra comosae, which feeds exclusively on A. comosus.

The word Ananas is derived from the Guarani name for the pineapple, via Portuguese. In most Indo-European languages, pineapple is called "ananas".

Chemistry

Pineapples contain both bromelain and papain to which it owes its meat tenderizing properties.

Ethnomedical Use

The fruit and roots are used as anti-inflammatory, proteolytic agent, and a root decoction for diarrhea.

Species and varieties


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