The pineapple is the fruit of a tropical plant indigenous to South America. The plant only grows a few inches high, and is surmounted by a densely packed flower pike, which becomes the fruit. The leaves of the plant are coarse, fibrous, and thick, with prickly edges. The fruit consists of the consolidation of the raceme of berries with a bunch of leaves at the top, which is called the "crown."
When left on the plant until it is thoroughly ripe, it is very soft, juicy, and of a delicious sweet flavor; but as they are obtained in the markets here, they are too green and woody to be easily digested, and only the juice should be used. Cooking, however, makes them more digestible. The pineapple is low in nutritive value, but it contains a digestive element very similar to pepsin, and is therefore an excellent medicine in some forms of dyspepsia. It also contains an acid which is a disinfectant, and the juice is considered an excellent gargle for the throat in diphtheria.