Herbs & Plants
Of The Southwest
During the second voyage of Columbus, Pineapples were found on the Island of Guadaloupe. Its original home was probably in South America, and it was brought to the Caribbean islands by Indian traders. The Spanish invaders called the pineapple “Pina de Indias” because of a somewhat far-fetched resemblance to the pinecone, and it was the English who named it “pineapple”, although this fruit has nothing to do with pines or apples. Although the fruit would not have shipped well in the slow ships of the 16th century, it was possible to ship root suckers for growing stock, and disseminate the plant rather quickly throughout the world. Because pineapple was somewhat of a luxury item for early American colonists, the pineapple became a popular symbol of the ultimate in hospitality, and was painted on walls, furniture, doors and paintings as a “Welcome!” symbol.
Although this is little known, the pineapple industry flourished for a while in South Florida, where pineapple plantations along the Indian River and other coastal inlets grew the fruits and shipped them to market along the original version of the Intercoastal Waterway. This industry died after a heavy freeze ruined a harvest, and it was found that pineapple could be raised more successfully in the Hawaiian Islands without the danger of frost. Today, while it is possible to obtain yummy unsweetened pineapple in cans that tastes almost as good as fresh, modern speedy shipping and transportation methods can give us the fresh “real thing”. Did you know you can grow your own pineapple plant on a sunny windowsill from the top that you slice off a fresh pineapple?