Little is known about the origin of Ananas comosus, the tropical plant we know as the pineapple. It is indigenous to South America and was brought to Europe by the Portuguese. Christopher Columbus encountered it on the island of Guadeloupe in 1493, calling it piña de Indes, or “pine of the Indians.” When he brought it back to Europe it was the first bromeliad to leave the New World. For centuries the pineapple has been a symbol of wealth and generosity, a rare delicacy coveted by the rich, and very much a part of extravagant hospitality.
The Pineapple in Art...
The Spanish introduced the pineapple into the Phillipines, Hawaii, Zimbabwe, and Guam, but it wasn’t until the early 1900s that large-scale pineapple cultivation (by US companies) began in Hawaii. James Dole was among the most famous pineapple industrialists, he moved to Hawaii in 1899 and started a pineapple plantation a year later. The companies Dole and Del Monte began growing pineapples on the island of Oahu shortly after.
The image of the pineapple can be found in 18th century European and American architecture and throughout many historic homes in the south. Because of its symbolism, the pineapple is always placed where guests are most likely to pass, specifically entrances and walkways. Two favorite locations for the pineapple are the pediment over the front door and finials around the front gate. You may also find the pineapple carved into areas around the foyer or fireplace, as these are also places where guests tend to gather. Over time, the pineapple’s symbolism and message of hospitality has remained constant in decoration.
On the Mantle...
The pineapple in arrangements at Harrington Smith in Aspen, Co...
45 Duroux Lane
Basalt, CO 81621