Kau Kau Kitchen
Hala Kahiki
(Pineapple)
by Leilehua Yuen         
   

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A pineapple, on its parent plant           

     Pineapple (Ananas comosus), native to South America, was introduced to Hawai`i around 1813 by Don Francisco de Paula y Marin. But it was not until James Dole and William Eames, founders of the Dole and Del Monte companies, created the modern pineapple industry at the beginning of the 20th century, that the fruit became an important part of the Hawaiian economy.
     A large bromiliad, the plant can grow over a meter in height. The leaves and long and sharp, able to inflict painful cuts. The fruit is multiple, with spirally-arranged flowers along the axis which each produce a fleshy fruit that becomes pressed against the fruits of adjacent flowers.
 
Fruit of Pandanus utilis    Because pineapple cultivation was the primary industry on the island of Lāna`i for many years, the island acquired the nickname, "Pineapple Island."
 
    The Hawaiian name means "foreign pandanus." Both leaf and fruit look similar to the hala (pandanus) which has grown abundantly in the islands since ancient times. They are unrelated.
     However, that did not stop me, as a child, from gleefully informing credulous visitors that the hala were pineapple trees, and that we trained monkeys to scamper up them to harvest the pineapples. That bit of kolohe misinformation has come back to haunt me in my work as a cultural practitioner and preservationist!

 

 

Links

Wikipedia on the pineapple.

California Rare Fruit Growers pineapple information.