Which plant typically yields only three fruits throughout its lifetime?
And the answer: the pineapple plant.
Indigenous to South America, pineapples today are grown around the world, including the Philippines, Costa Rica, and the American state of Hawaii. On average, each pineapple plant yields about three fruits in its lifetime, grown one at a time.
Pineapples are aggregate fruits, meaning they form from a cluster of small purple flowers. One to two hundred of these flowers, also known as an inflorescence, grow out of the center of the pineapple plant. About five to six months after flowering the blooms dry out and fuse together to create what we know as the pineapple fruit.
What is known as the “mother plant” of the pineapple only produces fruit once in its lifetime, but they produce suckers, or ratoons, around the main plant while it is flowering and fruiting. The mother plant slowly dies once fruiting is completed, but any large suckers or ratoons will continue to grow and eventually produce new fruit.
Did you know?
The word “pineapple” was recorded in 1398 to describe not the fruit, but the pine cones from trees! It wasn’t until 1694 that pine cones came to describe the seedling. On arrival to the Americas, European explorers called the tropical fruit pineapples around 1664.
In our "Question of the Day with Murray and Tamika" podcast, Tamika mentions one of her favorite recipes for pineapple juice. Here's the link – with instructional photos! – for Traditional Caribbean Pineapple Juice.
Tamika also mentions how you can propagate vegetables and fruits at home, even pineapples. Here's a video that shows how (check out the pineapple segment around 2:3o):