Sunday, June 13, 2010

Ananas bracteatus

This is a large-growing landscape bromeliad with a colorful "pineapple" bloom.
The red bract structure emerges in the spring and as it develops, the purple flowers start to open.
This is in the same genus as edible pineapples so as the weeks go by, the familiar pineapple shape develops.  Some taxonomists classify this as simply a variety of pineapple, not as a separate species.  The flower/fruit structure will remain on the plant throughout the summer, gradually fading in color and eventually rotting away in late fall.
Ananas bracteatus grows to about 3 foot tall and 3-4 foot wide so give it plenty of space.  They will grow in any exposure from full sun to full shade.  Growth is faster and the leaves are more rigid in full sun.
They are fairly cold hardy and my plants in the ground survived many hours in the mid-upper 20°F range with very little damage.  Plants in containers however, suffered major leaf loss.
There is a solid green form, but the variegated one is much more popular due to its year-round foliage color.
Some claim that the fruit is edible, although it is fibrous and lacking in juice.  In this case, "edible" may only mean that it won't kill you.  I've never met anyone who has actually tried to eat one.  In my garden, the wild animals line up to get a bite of my regular pineapples but they won't touch this one!  That tells me all I need to know about its edible qualities!
Buy this plant!


AaronVFT said...

Such a beautiful pineapple! Sad it's not tasty!

Sunita Mohan said...

Yeah, I think I would follow those animals' sense of taste too :)
But that bloom does look really pretty. Maybe you're meant to feast on it only with your eyes.
Does this plant follow the common pineapple's policy of just one fruit (or bloom in this case) per plant?

Ami said...

It is gorgeous! I have one ornamantal pineapple too, but with red leaves, and the fruit/flower is not this bright red. Yours is really pretty!

NanaK said...

That is a splendid specimen. I always enjoy seeing your bromeliads. It is quite attractive with or without the bloom. You say it will do well in shade...hmmm..I'll have to be on the lookout for this one.

Grower Jim said...

Sunita: Yes, the flowering is just like other pineapples and most bromeliads. Each rosette of leaves produces one flowering. Fortunately, they multiply as they grow so there are blooms every year!