Sections 212 and 213 of Part I gives something of the history, habits, culture, and increased use of this queen of fruits.
The varieties grown in Florida, and under glass at the North, are all foreign, and it is a significant fact that nearly all the cultivated varieties have been produced by florists in England and France by hand pollination under glass. In this way the Pine, as it is called in Europe, was grown in England during the reign of Charles II. The writer has seen in the rooms of the Royal Horticultural Society of London a picture representing the Royal gardener, Mr. Rose, presenting on bended knee the first pineapple grown in England. The growing for private use under glass became so general that the production of new and improved varieties attracted little attention.
It would now be difficult to trace the history of those under cultivation in Florida and the West India islands. In many cases the varieties sent out from Europe, originating under glass, have had their original names changed in the West Indies and other tropical climes. In open field culture in the tropics it appears that very few, if any, of the best modern varieties have been originated. As well known instances the Enville was grown from crossed seed by the gardener of the Earl of Stamford; Bucks Glove Pine was raised from crossed seed at Elford, England; the Dounton Havanna was grown from crossed seed by Thomas A. Knight of England. As a rule our cultivated pineapples rarely produce perfect seed without cross-pollination. As Burbidge says: "This sterility having been favored during the past two centuries owing to the almost invariable method of propagating from offsets or suckers." But artificial crossing of distinct types seems invariably to develop perfect seeds. The seeds are but little larger than those of millet, kidney-shaped, brown in color. They are enclosed in small ear-like cells under the recurved bracts at the top of the fruit. With modern American knowledge in regard to natural and artifical cross-pollination it is quite possible to produce seedling varieties that will combine the vigor of a given variety with the size and quality of fruit of another. This is now being done by the U. S. Department of Agriculture. In addition, something may be gained by seedling production in Florida in the way of exact adaptation to climate.
Size medium to large, oblong; color when ripe golden yellow. Quite a tall, growing plant with narrow dark-green and purple-tinged leaves; quality very good, but not best for shipping, as it is quite tender and easy to bruise. Brazil.
Large, conical; quality of flesh best. A leading variety under shed culture, and the ripened fruit brings the highest price in the coast cities.
Large, conical; quality best. An old English variety grown in lower Florida and in Cuba.
Large, oblong, color rather dark; quality best. Grown on the lower Keys of Florida and in Cuba.
Large, conical; color dark; quality best. Grown on the lower Keys of Florida and in Cuba.
Large, conical; quality very good to best. An old English variety grown to limited extent in lower Florida.
Medium to large, oblong, with broadened tuft at top; quality very good. An old English variety long grown under glass. Considerably grown in Florida and the West India Islands.
Large to very large; oblong; color dark yellow. Commercial in lower Florida.
Very large, conical, yellow; quality best. A dessert variety much prized for home use in Florida.
Small to medium, oblong; color yellow; quality best. A dessert variety prized for local use. Brazil.
Large to very large, roundish; yellow when fully ripe; quality fair to good. A vigorous growing plant producing the largest fruit. A good shipping variety.
Medium, conical; color yellow. Flesh very juicy, of exquisite flavor, and a good keeper. One of the oldest seedlings developed under glass in England. Next to the Red Spanish it is the leading variety of the Keys and lower Florida.
Medium, conical; color yellow; quality very good. Commercial in lower Florida.
This at present is most extensively grown in Florida. Size medium, short, rounded, with large pips of dark color, changing to a reddish brown when fully ripe. Flesh subacid, juicy, good. One of the hardiest varieties, and an excellent one for crossing with the larger fruiting varieties.
Medium, oblong; color light yellow; quality very good. Becoming commercial for shed culture in Florida.