The pineapple is an edible tropical plant with multiple fruits consisting of coalesced berries. It also serves as the most economically profitable plant in its family.
Humans cultivate the fruit from a crown cutting of the fruit, possibly flowering in 20–24 months and fruiting within the following six months.
Pineapple does not ripen significantly post-harvest. They get consumed fresh, cooked, juiced, and preserved, and also appear in a wide array of cultural dishes. In addition to consumption, in the Philippines, the pineapple’s leaves get used to produce the textile fiber pina. This material they commonly use as a component of wallpaper and furnishings, among a variety of other uses.
The pineapple evolved as a herbaceous perennial, which grows to as much as 4.9 ft (1.5 m) in height, although sometimes it grows even taller. In appearance, the plant itself has a short, stocky stem with tough, waxy leaves.
When creating its fruit, it usually produces up to 200 flowers, although some large-fruited cultivars exceed this. Once it flowers, the individual fruits of the flowers join together to create what we commonly call a pineapple. After the first fruit appears, side shoots get produced in the leaf axils of the main stem.
These either get removed for propagation or left to produce additional fruits on the original plant. Commercially, suckers that appear around the base become cultivated.
It has 30 or more long, narrow, fleshy, trough-shaped leaves with sharp spines along the margins that average between 1-3.3 ft (30-100 cm) in length, surrounding a thick stem. In the first year of growth, the axis lengthens and thickens, bearing numerous leaves in close spirals.
Mathematics in Nature
After 12 to 20 months, the stem grows into a spike-like inflorescence up to 15 cm (6 in) long with over 100 spirally arranged, trimerous flowers, each subtended by a bract. Flower colors vary, depending on variety, from lavender, through light purple to red. The ovaries develop into berries which coalesce into a large, compact, multiple accessory fruits.
The fruit of a pineapple grows arranged in two interlocking helices, eight in one direction, thirteen in the other, each being a naturally occurring Fibonacci number!