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Pine-Apples-art - 12/12/16


"Pine Apples and Oak Apples" by Mistress Agnes deLanvallei.


NOTE: See also the files: apples-msg, coconuts-msg, Period-Fruit-art, A-Med-Garden-art, horseradish-msg, p-herbals-msg, rose-hips-msg, spices-msg.





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Mark S. Harris...AKA:..Stefan li Rous

stefan at florilegium.org



Pine Apples and Oak Apples

by Mistress Agnes deLanvallei

March 05, revised May 2011


Apple as a word for "fruit"


Pine apples in the Middle Ages are not the fruit we give that name to today and oak apples are oak galls.


Apparently "apple" was used as a generic term for "fruit" (Oxford English Dictionary, "apple", n1).


Dioscorides (64 AD, widely used in medieval Europe) calls the fruit of the pine tree its apple. (Gunther, 1934).


Gerard says, describing the Pine Tree, "it is called in Latin Pinus and Pinus Sativa, Urbana or rather Mansueta; in English tame and garden Pine…


"The fruit or apples of these be called in Greeke kwnoi and in Latine  Coni- not withstaning Conos is a common name to all the fruits of these kind of trees…" (p. 1355). The Oxford English Dictionary's first two entries for pine apple are references to pine trees and their fruits (pinecones and pine nuts). (OED "pine apple")


Gerard includes the fruit we currently call pineapple as Ananas Pinias or Pine Thistle, in a section "Of diuers sorts of Indian fruits." (p. 1555)


Oak Apple


Oak apples, however, are not acorns but green galls.  These oak galls are common enough to be pictured by Gerard with the common oke (Quercus vulgaris) and to be included in the medicinal uses. 


Acorns are described as well. Thus, "The Acorns provoke urine and are good against all venome and poison, but they are no of such a stopping and binding faculties as the leaves and barke."


"The Oke apples are good against all fluxes of bloud and lasks, in what manner soever they be taken, but the best way is to boile them in red wine and being so prepapred, they are good also against the excessive moisture and swelling of the iawes and almonds or kernels of the throat." (p. 1341, using v where modern spelling does)."


The Dover Medieval Herb, Plant and Flower Illustrations has an entry labeled "oakapple".  Clearly these oak apples are acorns.




Pineapples, Ananas comosus are native to Central America and northern South America (ref).  They are members of the plant family Bromeliaceae, a family almost entirely confined to the New World. 


Little is known of wild pineapples but they are believed to have originated in South America and dispersed throughout all tropical America from there in very ancient times (Leal, 1995).


Columbus was offered pineapples in Guadalupe on his second voyage (1493) (Vaughn and Geisslr 1997). The native people of Guadalupe considered the pineapple a symbol of hospitaity (Simpson and Orgazaly 2001). Columbus called it the "pine of the Indies". (Kiple and Ornelas 2000).


The Spaniards called pineapples piña, from pine in Spanish, because it reminded them of a pine cone and carried over into English as "pine" or piña initially. (Oxford English Dictionary online). Considering the superficial similarity to pine cones the appropriation of the name pineapple for the newly discovered fruit seems reasonable.


Pineapples were introduced all over the world during the 1500s by the Spanish, Portuguese and Dutch traders. (Simpson and Orgazaly 2001).


From the time of Columbus, reports of how delicious pineapples were, were brought back to Europe. Getting a pineapple (the fruit) across the Atlantic without rotting was another thing entirely. One was brought to Holy Roman Emperor Charles V (reigned 1560-1588) but it was spoiled.


Attempts to grow pineapples in northern Europe were frustrated by its requirement for warm conditions amid the long northern winter. As glasshouses (hot houses) were developed, one of the first fruits to be grown there was the pineapple. The first pineapple grown in England arrived during Cromwell's time, 1653-1658 and in 1661 one was offered to Charles II, but the English king was not impressed. In 1676 John Worledge is reported to have said the fruit was "like a pineapple" and the name stuck (Foster and Cordell 1992).


The earliest mention of pineapple in an English cookbook is Richard Bradley's second book, 1732 (Foster and Cordell, 1992).


Literature Cited


Foster, Nelson and Linda S. Cordell. 1992. Chilies to Chocolate. Food the Americas gave the world. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press.


Gerard, John. The Herbal or General history of plants.  Complete 1633 edition as revised and enlarged by Thomas Johnson. Dover Publications, New York 1975.


Gunther, Robert T, editor. 1934. The Greek herbal of Dioscorides. Oxford University Press, Oxford , UK . {written approximately 64 AD, "illustrated by a Byzantine A.D. 512. Englished by John Goodyer A.D. 1655"]


Kiple, Kenneth.F. and Kreimhild C. Ornelas. 2000. The Cambridge World History of Food. London: Cambridge University Press.


Leal, Freddy. 1997. Pineapple, Ananas comosus (Bromeliaceae), pp. 19-22 in J. Smartt and N. W. Simmonds. Evolution of Crop Plants. 2nd ed. London: Longman Scientific and Technical.


Oxford University Press. Oxford English Dictionary online. "apple", "pine apple" http://0-www.oed.com.library.unl.edu. Accessed May 9 2011


Simpson, Beryl B. and Molly C. Orgazaly. 2001. Economic Botany, Plants in Our World. Boston: McGraw-Hill.


Vaughan J. G. and C. Geissler. 1997. The New Oxford Book of Food Plants. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


Copyright 2005 by Holly Howarth. <sablegreyhound at hotmail.com>. Permission is granted for republication in SCA-related publications, provided the author is credited.  Addresses change, but a reasonable attempt should be made to ensure that the author is notified of the publication and if possible receives a copy.


If this article is reprinted in a publication, please place a notice in the publication that you found this article in the Florilegium. I would also appreciate an email to myself, so that I can track which articles are being reprinted. Thanks. -Stefan.


<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
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Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org