Types of flowering pineapple plants exist in four main classes (groups) in international trade with much variation within each. The four classes are: Smooth Cayenne, Red Spanish, Queen, and Abacaxi. Pineapple plants are terrestrial herbs that grow to a height of 2-1/2 to 5 feet. In bloom, they display purple or red flowers from which the cone-shaped pineapple fruit grows. Pineapple plants thrive in well-drained, sandy loam with high organic matter content.
Smooth cayenne, also referred to simply as cayenne, is a type of flowering pineapple plant that is almost completely without spines; smooth cayenne reaches 4 to 10 lbs. in cylindrical form with shallow eyes. This pineapple variety displays an orange rind, yellow flesh and is fibrous enough for canning. Smooth cayenne is highly susceptible to disease, but cloned version cultivars have been created with a resistance to mealy bug.
Red Spanish flowering pineapple plant is highly spiny yet constitutes high percentages of commercial production, according to the Purdue University Horticulture Extension. The round fruit displays an orange-red rind, deep eyes,and reaches 3 to 6 lbs. With pale-yellow flesh, this fibrous fruit from the pineapple plant has flavorful flesh, is very resistant to fruit rot and susceptible to gummosis (a plant disease).
Queen is a type of flowering pineapple plant often referred to as common rough in Australia. Queen pineapple fruit is conical in shape, weighs 1 to 2-1/2 lbs. and displays a deep yellow rind; less fibrous than smooth cayenne, this variety is more fragrant and sold fresh.
Also referred to as pernambuco, eleuthera and English, abacaxi is a type of flowering pineapple plant. This cultivar is spiny with straight-sided fruit displaying white to pale yellow, sweet-flavored flesh and blue-green leaves. According to the Purdue University Horticulture Extension, abacaxi is often prized for its delicious flavor and weighs 2 to 11 lbs. Abacaxi is a highly disease-resistant flowering pineapple plant.
Cabezona, also known as bull head, is a widely used variety of red Spanish flowering pineapple plants. A large, conical fruit weighing up to 18 lbs. and measuring over 3 feet tall, cabezona displays gray-green leaves, an orange-yellow rind at maturity and sweet-acid flesh, according to the Purdue University Horticulture Extension. Having few fibers, cabezona sells in fresh markets. This cultivar has resistance to gummosis.