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St. John Flora: False Pineapple

Pinguin

Happy May Day!

Among other signs of springtime  on St. John are the spectacular flowers produced by the pinguin plant. Officially called Bromelia pinguin, they are also known as false pineapples as they really do resemble the pineapple plant.

The pinguins is native to central America, but through both the forces of nature and human cultivation have spread to the Caribbean, Florida and Hawaii.

The long, narrow and and stiff leaves are somewhat cactus-like having numerous barbed spines that stick out in two directions, making it very unfriendly to passersby. This characteristic to a large degree been responsible for the pinguin’s cultivation as they make an effective natural fence. In plantation days they were often planted on either or both sides of stone walls to prevent both escapes by enslaved workers and attacks or intrusions from without.

The pinguin flower morphs into a cluster of edible yellow fruits, which are tart and acidic, tasting somewhat like a strong lime. They can be eaten raw or cooked or made into a drink.

When it rains the penguin’s leaves direct the rainwater and accumulated organic matter down to the center of the plant where they are stored and eventually absorbed along with mosquitoes unfortunate enough to be attracted to the moisture only to find an acidic bath that kills and dissolves them adding nutrition for the plant.

St. John Live Music Schedule Tuesday May 1

Castaways – Karaoke Night – 9:00 – 777-3316
Driftwood Dave’s – Michael Beason – 8:00 – 777-4015
High Tide – Erin Hart – 6:00 – 9:00 – 714-6169
Island Blues – Karaoke & Open Mic – 8:00 – 11:00 – 776-6800
Morgan’s Mango – Greg Kinslow – 6:00 – 9:30 – 693-8141
Ocean Grill – Rascio on Steel Pan – 6:00 – 9:30 – 693-3304
Shipwreck Landing – Chris Carsel – 6:30 – 9:30
Spyglass – T-Bird – 5:00 – 8:00 – 776-1100

Weekly Schedule

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Brought to you by Gerald Singer, St. John US Virgin Islands (USVI)