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Ananas sativus

Image of Ananas sativus

Order: Poales
Family: Bromeliaceae
Genus: Ananas
Species: A. sativus

Common name: Anaras (Beng.); Blomelain, Pineapple(Eng.).
Edible Parts: Fruit, stem
Life cycle: Perennial
Native Range: Native to South and Central America but now cultivated in many other tropical areas, such as Hawaii and Queensland, Australia.

Habitat: The best soil for A. sativus culture is a well-drained, sandy loam with a high content of organic matter and it should be friable for a depth of at least 2 ft (60 cm), and pH should be within a range of 4.5 to 6.5. Soils that are not sufficiently acid are treated with sulfur to achieve the desired level. If excess manganese prevents response to sulfur or iron, as in Hawaii, the plants require regular spraying with very weak sulfate or iron. The plant cannot stand waterlogging and if there is an impervious subsoil, drainage must be improved. Pure sand, red loam, clay loam and gravelly soils usually need organic enrichment. Filter presscake from sugar mills, worked into clay soils in Puerto Rico, greatly enhances plant vigor, fruit yield, number of slips and suckers.

Description: Ananas sativus is best known for the species Ananas comosus. The pineapple (Ananas sativus) is the leading edible member of the family Bromeliaceae which embraces about 2,000 species. It is a terrestrial herb 2 1/2 to 5 ft (.75-1.5 m) high with a spread of 3 to 4 ft (.9-1.2 m); a very short, stout stem and a rosette of waxy, straplike leaves, long-pointed, 20 to 72 in (50-180cm) 1ong; usually needle tipped and generally bearing sharp, upcurved spines on the margins. 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. The stem continues to grow and acquires at its apex a compact tuft of stiff, short leaves called the "crown" or "top". Occasionally a plant may bear 2 or 3 heads, or as many as 12 fused together, instead of the normal one.

Medicinal Uses: Ananas sativus contains a proteolytic enzyme bromelain, which digests food by breaking down protein. Only modest quantities of blomelain are in the edible parts of the fruit, all commercially all commercially available bromelain is derived from the stem. Pineapple supplements are particularly poplar among athletes for treating all sorts of physical aches and injuries. There are questions about how well bromelain is absorbed, and to many herbal authorities the value may be overstated. Nature gave us many similar protolytic enzymes, (like Ginger), that are more highly concentrated in the edible parts of the plants. Pineapple is healthy fruit, a good source of manganese, as well as containing significant amounts of Vitamin C.

The juice from unripe pineapples can cause severe vomiting. Bromelain ingestion is associated with a low incidence of adverse reactions, including diarrhea, excess menstrual flow, nausea, skin rash, and vomiting. Swelling of the mouth and cheeks can result from eating large amounts of the fruit.