The word "pineapple" in English was first recorded to describe the reproductive organs of conifer trees (now termed pine cones). When European explorers encountered this tropical fruit in the Americas, they called them "pineapples" (first referenced in 1664, for resemblance to pine cones).
The natives of southern Brazil and Paraguay spread the pineapple throughout South America, and it eventually reached the Caribbean, Central America, and Mexico, where it was cultivated by the Mayas and the Aztecs. Columbus encountered the pineapple in 1493 on the leeward island of Guadeloupe. He called it piña de Indes, meaning "pine of the Indians", and brought it back with him to Spain, thus making the pineapple the first bromeliad to be introduced by humans outside of the New World.
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