2- Biological Characteristics of the Species Ananas bracteatus - Red Pineapple
2.1- Description + Plants Red Pineapple (Ananas bracteatus)is a short lived perennial terrestrial plant related to the pineapple that grows up to about 90 cm tall (up to 1,2 m when flowering) and 90-120 cm wide. Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling. Plants take 18 to 24 months from planting to fruit. The similar False Pineapple (Pseudananas sagenarius) has spines at the base of the leaves that curve downward toward the base of the plant.Pineapple (Ananas comosus)has much less colorful inflorescences and larger fruit. + Stems Almost acaulescent or with a very short, trunk-like stem a the base of the rosette. + Leaves Many, evergreen, arching, arranged in a spiral in a spreading rosette, simple, ribbon-like, long-attenuate, acuminate, pungent, up to 1,5 (or more) cm long and not over 40 mm wide above the dilated base, coriaceous, fibrous, solid dark green with a red hue with subdensely serrate margins with sharp spines that curve up toward the leaf tips. The leaves are long, linear, arching, solid dark green or variegated with white, pink, red, or yellow, and edged with sharp spines that curve up toward the leaf tips. The dark green leaves that fade red to pink when exposed to sunlight. It has evergreen sword-like grey green leaves with a red hue. The long spiny leaves are characterized by "broad, cream and green, longitudinal stripes that are suffused with pink when grown in good light." Warning:The edges of the leaves have fine teeth so use extreme caution when handling. + Flowers This plant is monocarpic (it bears flowers only one time in its life). Usually the plant will bear one flower stalk at a time though there may be 2 or 3 heads. The small, violet-purple flowers emerge from between spiny, red or pink bracts on egg-shaped inflorescences. The inflorescences are followed by brownish pink to scarlet, leafy-topped, compound pineapple fruits. The floral scape is up to about 50 cm long, robust and straight, develops at the centre of the rosette and ends with an inflorescence formed by showy, spiny, imbricate bracts, with serrate, pink or bright red margins, which surround the small violet-purple or reddish pink flowers and with, on the top, a thick coma (tuft of leaves). It takes about six months from flower to ripe fruit and they fruit all year. The flowers are pollinated by humming-birds, and these flowers usually develop small, hard seeds. Seeds are generally not found in commercially grown pineapple. + Fruits The fruit is a small to medium, syncarp (leafy-topped, compound pineapple fruit), formed by the fusion of the ripe ovaries with the base of the sepals and the bracts and with the bark of the floral axis. The skin is tough and waxy, brownish pink to scarlet in colour. The flesh is pink-yellow in colour. The ripe fruit is more or less palatable (depending on clones), but it is smaller (less than one kilo), usually full of seeds, fibrous, lacking in juice and less fleshy than commercial pineapples, but very attractive. The fruit weigh about less than one kilo each. Fruit should be picked when fully ripe and have developed full flavour and sweetness. The flesh is sweet and juicy, pink-yellow in colour.The ripe fruit is edible, but it is smaller and less fleshy than commercial pineapples. Fruit also over ripens quickly on the plant and will not ripen any more once picked, so timing of harvesting and sale is critical.
Inflorescence of Red Pineapple
Red Pineapple fruit
2.2- Origin and Distribution + Origin: Red Pineapple (Ananas bracteatus)is native to Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. + Distribution: - In Southern America Argentina: Corrientes, Misiones. Brazil: Alagoas, Espirito Santo, Minas Gerais, Parana, Pernambuco, Rio Grande do Sul, Rio de Janeiro, Santa Catarina, Sao Paulo. Paraguay: Alto Parana, Caaguazu. - In Other Areas Some countries such as State Hawaii of USA, New Zealand and Australia were introduced Red Pineapple to grow as the Ornamental plants. In in New Zealand, cultivation of green pineapples was attempted on a commercial scale after World War Two in Northland but the climate is not suitable for ripening this tropical fruit. However red pineapples were imported from Brazil by Jury Bros of Waitara, Taranaki about 40 years ago. 2.3- Ecology + Temperatures: It is cultivated in open air in the tropical and humid subtropical climate countries, with temperatures which it is good to keep over the 14°C, best 20-24°C , but can withstand light frost for short periods if very dry (hardy down to -2 to -6º C, even if with damage to the foliage) in these situations it will better resist if sheltered by the winter rains, seen that the humidity and low temperatures render it more sensitive to rottenness. Plants in containers however, suffered major leaf loss. + Growing substrate: It requires a well-drained, aerated, porous and moisture-retentive substratum which is rich of organic substance (e.g. 2 parts peat moss to 1 part loam to 1 part sand or perlite). Use only acidic soil. + Exposition: It will grow in any exposure from full sun to full shade. Growth is faster and the leaves are more rigid in full sun…
3- The Uses of Red Pineapple (Ananas bracteatus)
The Red Pineapple (Ananas bracteatus) is grown as an ornamental plant for its conspicuous red inflorescences and fruit. 3.1- Food Uses The ripe fruit is edible, but it is smaller and less fleshy than commercial pineapples (Ananas comosus). So it is grown as an ornamental plant for its conspicuous red inflorescences than harvesting for its fruits. 3.2- Ornamental Uses Red pineaple (Ananas bracteatus) is a valuable ornamental bromeliads due to the beauty of the foliage and of the inflorescence and the facility of cultivation. There is a solid green form, but the variegated one is much more popular due to its year-round foliage colour. In colder places it can be grown indoors as a houseplant in luminous and spacious locations, seen the dimensions of the plant, even if there is the tendency to select for this purpose varieties of smaller sizes. Some ornamental varieties, including variegated cultivars are very valuable landscape plants that require very little care and create exotic tropical look. 3.3- Used as a security hedge Red Pineapple is grown in tropical gardens and is used as a security hedge because of its spiny leaves. In Hawaii, Red Pineapple is grown in tropical gardens and is used as a security hedge because of its spiny leaves. 3.4- Other uses In the origin countries, from the leaves they get particularly resistant fibres for ropes and textures; the fruit, and even more the stem, contain bromelain, a protelytic enzyme which, purified, is utilized both in pharmacology, mainly as anti inflammatory and anti oedematose, and in the alimentary industry for clarifying the bier, in tinned meat, for tendering it, and in the pre-cooked cereals.
4- Growing Red Pineapples
4.1-Propagation Remove and replant stout offshoots from the base of the parent plant. Starting from the offshots at least 3 years are needed for the blossoming. This plant also tufts quickly and easily reproduces in a vegetative way by means of the new plants which come out from the axillary gemmae placed between the leaves and on the stem under the fruit, and the “wisp” of leaves over the fruit. 4.2- Pruning Remove old leaves from plant base and dead ﬂower spikes only. Remove older plant crown when it begins to fade. After about two years a red pineapple plant develops a flower, which after about six months will turn into a fruit. The individual fruits of a flower (perhaps 200 to a stem) join together to form the pineapple, which is on the end of a stalk, and thus prone to damage or breaking. 4.3- Watering In summer it enjoys constant moderate waterings from rain or sprinkler, but allow the plant to dry in-between waterings, and reduced in winter. However it is quite drought-tolerant. In dry and hot climate, humidity can be increased with nebulisations utilizing water at room temperature and not calcareous. Requires complete and perfect drainage as root rot can be a problem if the soil is too moist. 4.4- Fertilizing Fertilize every 4-week during the growing season with a balanced fertilizer diluted to ½ the strength recommended on the label. Apply mild solutions (one-quartet strength) of foliar fertilizer at 3-month intervals to both garden and container plants. 4.5- ControlingPest and diseases It is susceptible to scale, trips and mosquitos that will sometimes breed in the pools of water that are trapped between the leaves. Mealybugs infestations are also a frequent problem.