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Edible Portion: Fruit, Shoots, Vegetable

A perennial herb with a rosette of long, thick, spiky leaves up to 1 m high & spreading 1-1.5 m. The leaves are arranged in spirals. Some kinds have thorns along the edges of the leaves. The plant produces suckers both near the base of the stem and also higher up the stem near the fruit. These are called slips and these, and the suckers, are broken off and used for planting. The main plant dies after producing a fruit but the suckers keep growing. The plant produces a flower and fruit at the end. The fruit is made up of about 150 berry-like fruitlets that are almost fused together. There is a small crown of leaves on top of the fruit. The fruit can be 25 cm long and weigh 0.5-4 kg. The two main kinds of pineapples are the rough leafed variety which has spines on the leaves and produces a smaller but sweeter fruit. The other kind is the smooth leaf kind with spineless leaves and larger fruit. There are several cultivated varieties.