The Pineapple Success Story: From Domestication to Pantropical Diffusion

  • Geo Coppens d’EeckenbruggeEmail author
  • Marie-France Duval
  • Freddy Leal
Part of the Plant Genetics and Genomics: Crops and Models book series (PGG, volume 22)


Although the pineapple was common throughout tropical America well before 1492, its wild and cultivated forms were poorly known until the late twentieth century. The genus Ananas includes A. comosus, a self-incompatible diploid, vegetatively propagated from axillary suckers and the fruit crown, and A. macrodontes, a self-fertile, crownless tetraploid reproducing through seeds and stolons. The former presents five botanical varieties: the wild var. microstachys and var. parguazensis; the edible pineapple, var. comosus; the smooth-leaved var. erectifolius; and the spiny var. bracteatus, two fiber cultigens now exploited as ornamentals. Diversity studies indicate that var. comosus and var. erectifolius are related to populations of var. microstachys from the northern Amazon, whereas var. bracteatus evolved in the southeast, through the introgression of A. macrodontes genes. While the Guianas constitute the likely center of pineapple domestication from wild and intermediate forms, the wide western Amazon cultivar diversity suggests a secondary center where sexual recombination mostly involved domesticated forms. According to archaeological and linguistic data, the edible pineapple has been cultivated for more than 3000 years in Amazonia and coastal Peru, and 2500 years in Mesoamerica, implying a very early domestication and neotropical diffusion. In the sixteenth century, Portuguese traders diffused Cultivars Singapore Canning, Selangor Green, and Pérola from coastal Brazil to tropical Asia and coastal Africa. A wider diversity was cultivated in the nineteenth-century European glasshouses, of which only 'Queen' and 'Smooth Cayenne' have survived and diffused to tropical production regions. The much wider Amazonian cultivar diversity has not been exploited yet.


Ananas comosus Amazonia Antiquity Crop distribution Curagua Origin 



We thank Duane Bartholomew and Garth Sanewski for improving the manuscript through their comments and suggestions.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Geo Coppens d’Eeckenbrugge
    • 1
    Email author
  • Marie-France Duval
    • 2
  • Freddy Leal
    • 3
  1. 1.CIRAD, UMR AGAPMontpellierFrance
  2. 2.CIRAD, UMR AGAPLe LamentinFrance
  3. 3.Universidad Central de Venezuela, Facultad de AgronomíaMaracayVenezuela

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