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Pineapple Cultivars

Because this is a very popular fruit much hybridisation and selection has been made since the pineapple became known to the Europeans in the 1700’s. Munro in Classification of pineapple varieties. Trans. London Hort. Soc. II: 1-34. 1835 published an account of 52 varieties. Beer in Classification der Arten und Varietaten der Gattung “Ananassa” Die Familie der Bromeliaceen. Wien. 222-236. 1856 listed 70 varieties. Johnson in The Pineapple. Paradise of the Pacific Press, Honolulu, Hawaii. 1935 increased the number to 135.

In 1997 we read

"Pineapple Cultivars" by Coppens, Leal & Duval, Horticultural Reviews 21: 149. 1997

Numerous cultivars and clones, including smooth and spiny 'Cayenne' clones, 'Queen', and 'Black Antigua' have been the subject of early descriptions and classifications (Griffin 1806; Knight 1822; Munro 1835; Beer 1857). Most of these cultivars have been lost, and only 'Cayenne' and 'Queen' remain of commercial importance today. At present, the base of commercial production is limited to a few cultivars. As these cultivars extensively traveled and have been acclimated in many different countries, they frequently have been renamed. Geographical differentiation, cultivar heterogeneity, and clonal selection also contributed to the confusion. As a result, classification of pineapple cultivars is chaotic. Many different cultivars are known by the same name and many different names may be given to the same cultivar (Johnson 1935, Antoni and Leal 1981; Leal 1990a). And the more widespread the cultivar, the greater the confusion. This is particularly true for the cultivars which are the object of international production and trade: 'Smooth Cayenne', 'Queen', 'Espatio la Roja', and 'Singapore Canning' or 'Singapore Spanish'. Hume and Miller (1904) classified the pineapple cultivars grown in Florida in four horticultural groups as "Cayenne," "Queen," "Spanish" (centered around 'Espanola Roja'), and a fourth "miscellaneous" category to include an A. ananossoides genotype, in accordance with the characteristics of the fruit. Py and Tisseau (1965) included 'Singapore Spanish' into "Spanish" and added a "Pernambuco." group. Samuels (1970) used this classification as a basis for describing commercial cultivars. A fifth horticultural group named "Maipure" was added by Leal and Soule (1977) to classify cultivars with smooth "piping" leaves. This group was later renamed "Perolera" by Py et al. (1984) to avoid confusion with other non-piping genotypes called 'Maipuri' in Guyana. The name "Mordilona", from a species name proposed by Linden (1879) and a botanical variety name used by Camargo (Reyes-Zumeta 1967), has also been used for this group (Cabot 1987).

It is worth mentioning that such an authority as Collins (1960), who maintained the largest living collection at that time, never used such classifications, using strictly the term (cultivated) variety in its present sense. Indeed, these horticultural classifications are limiting and confusing. First, they take into account but a small part of the existing variability.

In 2003 we read in the Wall Street Journal (Front page on 7th October) Juicy Details – Going for 'The Gold' turns Pineapple world upside down – Mystery of the seven seeds.

In the global search for the perfect pineapple, no fruit has come as close as the "Extra Sweet Gold". And few have started a bigger fight. Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc.'s "Gold" pineapple, sprouting up from the red, volcanic soil in this remote farming valley, is so sweet, so juicy and so durable that it has become the best-selling pineapple in the world. See photo.

In 2003 we read in our own Journal – J. Brom. Soc 53(6): 266-7. – what Chester Skotak plans to do with his hybridisation program.

In all, a very vibrant world of cultivars in a specialist group with cryptic detail. So much so it is not my intention to try to solve these problems as Bromeliad Cultivar Registrar other than advise some of the facts. In the Bromeliad Cultivar Register 1998 there were 16 pineapple cultivars listed and I do not intend to extend this list unless I get photos of the cultivar concerned. From what I can gather, cultivar names are mostly based on the fruit – its taste and keeping ability. This makes it unique amongst all other Bromeliad cultivars!

Uncle Derek - BSI Cultivar Registrar

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