Apparently one pineapple is not a single fruit. This is why

Many people love the delicious taste of pineapple. But few of them know much about how their fruit salads, smoothies and pineapple cocktails end up being enriched with this incredibly unique tropical fruit. In fact, it’s not a single fruit at all!

Pineapples share none of the common characteristics of pines or apples. They are known as a multiple fruit, also called a collective or compound fruit. They arise when a plant puts out a cluster of flowers known as an inflorescence. Each flower produces its own individual berry-like fruits, which then all grow together as the pineapple develops, with the inner spaces becoming sweet and juicy. That’s why pineapples are so popular in recipes. You can see the remains of these individual units in the circular pattern on the outside of a pineapple. Other common examples of multiple fruits include figs, mulberries, breadfruit and jackfruit.

Composite fruits evolve to allow plants to conserve resources when growing in environments with few nutrients or water, and to make it more effective for wild pollinators to access many flowers at once. They also allow efficient seed dispersal when larger animals eat a very large fruit with many seeds instead of just a few smaller ones.

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Not your average plant

pineapple plants – Rasimon/Getty Images

This is not the only striking aspect of the pineapple plant that is generally unusual among our more familiar fruit plants. Botanically, they belong to the bromeliad family, a group better known for showy ornamental plants than edible fruits. Commercially, they are almost always grown via slip and runner propagation rather than from seed, like many other fruits and vegetables.

Anyone who wants to see the process for themselves can do so with nothing more than a store-bought pineapple and a large pot of soil. Twist the entire crown (leaf portion) of the pineapple, then strip the leaves one to two inches from the bottom. This crown can be planted directly in the pot or hung in water while the roots first develop. Don’t expect quick results. Growing pineapple requires more patience than most edible plants, and it sometimes takes more than two years to produce fruit. Even then, each plant only produces one pineapple. Well, not exactly single – as you now know!

Read the original article on Mashed.

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