Signs & Symbols – Pineapple, The Princess of Fruit

The simple pineapple, exotic in appearance and vibrant in taste, has enchanted people for centuries and has grown into a rich symbol of hospitality.

It is said that Christopher Columbus first ‘discovered’ pineapples in 1493 while exploring the Caribbean. But long before that, indigenous peoples cultivated and transplanted the fruit (“anana”) throughout Central America, reportedly hanging them at entrances of their dwellings to welcome strangers. With Columbus’ return, the fascination with pineapples grew and expanded throughout Europe and the New World.

Others tell a story that it was colonial sea captains – who sailed the Caribbean to trade in various riches – were the ones who converted the simple fruit to meaning maker. Nautical legends say that these returning sailors would spear a pineapple on a fence post to let friends know of their safe arrival — and as an invitation to visit, eat, drink and hear tales of adventure. That tradition continued as colonial innkeepers began incorporating pineapples into their signage.

Because pineapples could only initially be grown in tropical climates, they were rare and expensive items. Purchasing or even renting a single pineapple became a way for the well-to-do to display great wealth and a commitment to hospitality — literally sparing no expense for guests. From that gentry tradition, the pineapple grew into a familiar symbol of welcome and hospitality.

Purchasing or even renting a single pineapple became a way for the well-to-do to display great wealth and a commitment to hospitality…

Even though the monetary value of the pineapple has changed over time, the symbol still carries a rich legacy of meaning while becoming a familiar motif in architecture, home goods, and furniture designs. Inns, taverns, and other houses of hospitality also built on these meaningful traditions through the years. A humble pineapple needs nearly three years to grow and mature into sweet, edible fruit, but it has taken hundreds of years to yield a symbol with such delectable meaning.

*For more on the history of what Sir Walter Raleigh called “the princess of fruits,” here is a veritable feast of information available from the University of Central Florida.

Get in touch to geek out about design. Do you have a project that we could help you with? Contact us.

(Image: Otter)

Recent Posts

Better Late Than Never — Seedhouse News Q4, 2022

Better Late Than Never — Seedhouse News Q4, 2022

Q4’22 was a blur Between the frenzy of wrapping paper & family visits, we found ourselves elbow deep in press checks, photo shoots, consumer testing and writing copy & developing messaging platforms. We do it all here - brand identity, consumer packaged goods...

A Week in the Life – Seedhouse Capabilities

A Week in the Life – Seedhouse Capabilities

Talking with a client the other day, our team realized that some folks don't know all that Seedhouse does in a week (and what the breadth of Seedhouse capabilities really are)! So here's a quick overview of a recent work week...and we promise it's more fun than that...



As the days shorten and the year comes to an end, we’ve been in a reflective mood - although looking at the year in review has lifted our spirits! We want to take a moment and express our super duper gratitude for all of our clients that chose to work with us this...