ANANAS, s. The Pine-apple (Ananassa sativa, Lindl.; Bromelia Ananas, L.), a native of the hot regions of Mexico and Panama. It abounded, as a cultivated plant, in Hispaniola and all the islands according to Oviedo. The Brazilian Nana, or perhaps Nanas, gave the Portuguese Ananas or Ananaz. This name has, we believe, accompanied the fruit whithersoever, except to England, it has travelled from its home in America. A pine was brought home to Charles V., as related by J. D’Acosta below. The plant is stated to have been first, in Europe, cultivated at Leyden about 1650 (?). In England it first fruited at Richmond, in Sir M. Decker’s garden, in 1712.1 But its diffusion in the East was early and rapid. To one who has seen the hundreds of acres covered with pine-apples on the islands adjoining Singapore. Or their profusion in a seemingly wild state in the valleys of the Kasia country on the eastern borders of Bengal, it is hard to conceive of this fruit as introduced in modern times from another hemisphere. But, as in the case of tobacco, the name bewrayeth its true origin, whilst the large natural family of plants to which it belongs is exclusively American. The names given by Oviedo, probably those of Hispaniola, are Iaiama as a general name, and Boniana and Aiagua for two species. Pine-apples used to cost a pardao (a coin difficult to determine the value of in those days) when first introduced in Malabar, says Linschoten, but “now there are so many grown in the country, that they are good cheape” (91); [Hak. Soc. ii. 19]. Athanasius Kircher, in the middle of the 17th century, speaks of the ananas as produced in great abundance in the Chinese provinces of Canton, Kiangsu and Fuhkien. In Ibn Muhammad Wali’s H. of the Conquest of Assam, written in 1662, the pine-apples of that region are commended for size and flavour. In the last years of the preceding century Carletti (1599) already commends the excellent ananas of Malacca. But even some 20 or 30 years earlier the fruit was grown profusely in W. India, as we learn from Chr. d’Acosta (1578). And we know from the Ain that (about 1590) the ananas was habitually served at the table of Akbar, the price of one being reckoned at only 4 dams, or 1/10 of a rupee; whilst Akbar’s son Jahangir states that the fruit came from the sea-ports in the possession of the Portuguese.—(See Ain, i. 66-68.)

In Africa too, this royal fruit has spread, carrying the American name along with it. “The Mananazi2 or pine-apple,” says Burton, “grows luxuriantly as far as 3 marches from the coast (of Zanzibar). It is never cultivated, nor have its qualities as a fibrous plant been discovered.” (J.R.G.S. xxix. 35). On the Ile Ste Marie, of Madagascar, it grew in the first half of the 17th century as manasse (Flacourt, 29).

Abul Fazl, in the Ain, mentions that the fruit was also called kathal-i-safari, or ‘travel jack-fruit,’ “because young plants put into a vessel may be taken on travels and will yield fruits.” This seems a nonsensical pretext text for the name, especially as another American fruit, the Guava, is sometimes known in Bengal as the Safariam, or ‘travel mango.’ It has been suggested by one of the present writers that these cases may present an uncommon use of the word safari in the sense of ‘foreign’ or ‘outlandish,’ just as Clusius says of the pine-apple in India, “peregrinus est hic fructus,” and as we begin this article by speaking of the ananas as having ‘travelled’ from its home in S. America. In the Tesoro of Cobarruvias (1611) we find “Çafari, cosa de Africa o Argel, como grenada” (‘a thing from Africa or Algiers, such as a pomegranate’). And on turning to Dozy and Eng. we find that in Saracenic Spain a renowned kind of pomegranate was called romman safari: though this was said to have its name from a certain Safar ibn-Obaid al Kilai, who grew it first. One doubts here, and suspects some connection with the Indian terms, though the link is obscure. The lamented Prof. Blochmann, however, in a note on this suggestion, would not admit the possibility of the use of safari for ‘foreign.’ He called attention to the possible analogy of the Ar. safarjal for ‘quince.’ [Another suggestion may be hazarded. There is an Ar. word, asafiriy, which the dicts. define as ‘a kind of olive.’ Burton (Ar. Nights, iii. 79) translates this as ‘sparrow-olives,’ and says that they are so called because they attract sparrows (asafir). It is perhaps possible that this name for a variety of olive may have been transferred to the pine-apple, and on reaching India, have been connected by a folk etymology with safari applied to a ‘travelled’ fruit.] In Macassar, according to Crawfurd, the ananas is called Pandang, from its strong external resemblance, as regards fruit and leaves, to the Pandanus. Conversely we have called the latter screw-pine, from its resemblance to the ananas, or perhaps to the pine-cone, the original owner of the name. Acosta again (1578) describes the Pandanus odoratissima as the ‘wild ananas,’ and in Malayalam the pine-apple is called by a name meaning ‘pandanus-jack-fruit.’

The term ananas has been Arabized, among the Indian pharmacists at least, as ’ain-un-nas ‘the eye of man’; in Burmese nan-na-si, and in Singhalese and Tamil as annasi (see Moodeen Sheriff).

We should recall attention to the fact that pine-apple was good English long before the discovery of America, its proper meaning being what we have now been

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter/page
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission.
See our FAQ for more details.