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Pineapple, one member of the Bromeliaceae family
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Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Bromeliaceae (from the genus Bromelia, in honor of Olaus Bromel, a Swedish botanist). Pineapple Family. Fig. 10. Herbs or subshrubs, mostly epiphytic: leaves usually basal, alternate, linear, trough-like, sheathing at the base, mostly stiff and spiny-serrate, usually covered in part or all over with peltate scale-like hairs or glands: flowers in spikes, racemes, panicles or heads, often in the axils of imbricated, highly colored, bracts, usually bisexual, regular, epigynous or hypogynous; perianth of 6 parts, definitely differentiated into calyx and corolla; parts free or united; stamens 6, often borne on the perianth; anthers introse; ovary inferior or superior, 3-celled; ovules many; style 1; stigmas 3: fruit a berry or capsule, more or less surrounded by the persistent perianth; seeds albuminous.

The family has 40 genera and about 900 species, almost exclusively of tropical and subtropical America. Tillandsia usneoides reaches Florida and Texas.

Tillandsia is the largest genus with 120 species. The family is closely related to the Liliaceae and Amaryllidaceae. The peculiar stiff leaves, the conspicuous bracts, the herbaceous calyx, the mealy endosperm, and, in general, the epiphytic habit, are distinctive. There are few families more easily recognized than this.

The most important economic species is the pineapple (Ananas sativus), the fruit of which is an important article of commerce. Its unripe juice is used as a vermifuge and diuretic. Florida or Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides) is used in the preparation of a stiptic ointment. It is also used to stuff mattresses, under the name of vegetable hair. Billbergia tinctoria is the source of a dye. The leaves of pineapple yield a beautiful fiber. Bromelia Pinguin is a vermifuge employed in the West Indies.

There are several genera grown in America, all for ornamental purposes except the pineapple. Among these are: Aechmea; Ananas (Pineapple); Billbergia; Bromelia (Pinguin of Jamaica, Wild Pine); Cryptanthus; Dyckia; Guzmannia; Nidularium; Pitcairnia; Tillandsia (Spanish Moss, Florida Moss, Long Moss); Vriesia.CH

The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.




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