Who's asking: Henry Lavinder, Mechanicsville, VA
Henry was eating a tangerine the other morning and complaining about the number of seeds in it. We discussed the fact that tangerines grow, and that every plant that grows has seeds.
The next morning he said, out of nowhere, "Pineapples grow."
"That's right," I said.
"But pineapples don't have seeds," he said. I'm not sure how he knows this; we weren't eating pineapple at the time, and Peggy says they don't eat a lot of pineapple.
"You're right," I said. "I will investigate."
It turns out that pineapples do have seeds, but they appear on the flowers, which we never see. It's hard to grow a pineapple from seeds; farmers usually sprout new plants from slips and suckers, and sprouting a plant from a pineapple crown is a time-honored elementary school science project.
Pineapples themselves are not a single fruit. Botanically, each pineapple is a cluster of fruits that grow and merge together around the fibrous core, which is actually a stem/stalk.
The pineapple is the American colonial symbol of hospitality, because they were so rare and expensive that a host who put out a pineapple for his guests was really giving them his best. Yesterday's Christmas celebration at the Lavinders upheld all standards of Southern hospitality, and it was a wonderful day. Pictures are on their blog, here.
Dizzy and I start the journey north this afternoon, and will make it as far as Washington, D.C. tonight.