PINEAPPLE

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PINEAPPLE (bromelia ananas). This fruit, usually pronounced the first in the world, was originally found by the Europeans in Peru, and has not been known in Europe above two centuries. It passed from Brazil to the West Indies, and thence was transported to the East Indies, where it has long been successfully cultivated. The leaves are canaliculate, and spiny on the margin; the stem erect, and about two feet high; the flowers blue, and united in a dense spike, which is crowned at the summit with a tuft of leaves; the berries, in ripening, unite, and give to this spike somewhat of the form of a pinecone, but it is much larger. The seeds have been rendered abortive by cultivation. The pineapple is most readily reproduced by planting the terminal tuft of leaves; but, in our greenhouses, it is far inferior to the tropical fruit, and yet is very generally cultivated in many parts of Eu rope, especially near the larger cities. In one or two of the southern provinces of Spain, it is raised in sheltered situations in the open air. Many varieties of the pineapple have been produced, but they may be referred to seven principal ones. Some of the other species of true bromelia have crowns, and the fruit of most of them, though small, is eatable. The B. pinguin has the fruit separately in clusters, and not in a cone, and the leaves afford a fibre, which is manufactured into cordage, or sometimes into good cloth. From the pineapple is made very good wine, which turns in about three weeks, but recovers by longer keeping. The fruit is also sometimes preserved entire, and, when taken out of the sirup, is iced with sugar.