Excerpts from Jim Conrad's
Naturalist Newsletter

from the February 12, 2017 Newsletter issued from Rancho Regensis north of Valladolid, Yucatán, MÉXICO
PINEAPPLES FLOWERING

Here at the rancho anytime someone buys a pineapple the tufted top is cut off and planted in the ground. Before long roots form and the tuft starts growing, eventually producing knee-high rosettes of stiff, yellowish-green blades reddish-tented at their tips, such as those shown below:

Pineapple plants

The plants in the picture haven't begun producing pineapples yet. A view into one of the plant's center showing nothing but a clutter of dried-up leaves where the future pineapple fruit will set is shown below:

Pineapple plants

Nowadays a few of our pineapple plants have their rosette centers occupied by apple-sized flowering heads perched atop thick, finger-long peduncles, like the one shown below:

Pineapple flowering head with peduncle

In that picture, notice the violet-hued flower at the head's lower, left. The flower itself has no stem, or pedicel. The pinkish, triangular items bristling all around are spiny-toothed bracts, bracts being leaves modified to fulfill some purpose. In the pineapple's flowering head the purpose appears to be to dissuade herbivores from nibbling on the flowers and future fruit. A close-up showing a pineapple flower's cylinder-like corolla with three stuck-together petals is shown below:

Pineapple flower

The Maya workers tell me that in a couple of months we'll have pineapples to eat. It'll be interesting to watch how the flowering heads develop into syrupy pineapple fruit.


from the March 5, 2017 Newsletter issued from Rancho Regensis north of Valladolid, Yucatán, MÉXICO
IMMATURE PINEAPPLE UPDATE

immature pineapple at end of flowering

A close-up of brown, dried-up flower corollas atop their expanding ovaries, each ovary subtended by a sharp-pointed, triangular bract, is shown below:

immature pineapple at end of flowering close-up

The expanding ovaries bear watching now, for as they grow and fuse with their neighboring ovaries, they'll be forming the pineapple we hope to eat someday. At that point we'll see that what we think of as the pineapple "fruit" actually is an assemblage of fruits, known as a "multiple fruit."