You might not recognise the object pictured above, but it is a pineapple root! Last week I visited a pinapple plantation in the Azores and learned how to grow pineapples! These roots are laid out in trays of compost and kept moist and very warm for about 8 months.
Alternatively you can take the top from a pineapple - as long as the growing middle has not been removed - strip the lower leaves from the stalk and leave it to dry on a windowsill for a couple of weeks. You will see the little vestigial roots in the leaf joints.
After about 8 months or so green shoots will appear from this root, and these are broken off and planted out under glass and left to grow for up to 2 years! One of the most startling things I learned is that they are not given any nutrients or feed, they are grown in woodchippings and sawdust, with a top dressing of pittosporum leaves!
Now this is the bit where I come unstuck in London - the temperatures inside these greenhouses are unbearably hot! Just about the same temperature as a very hot sauna or Turkish bath.
In fact this picture above had to be taken quickly within about half a second of walking inside the greenhouse as my glasses and camera lens were completely steamed up. This is a baby pineapple, the beautiful flowers bloom out of each of the tiny segments - I did not know this!
Eventually you get something that resembles a pineapple after about 2 years (although I am told that in warmer climates they can do it in 18 months)
So after about 2 years of sweltering heat inside a greenhouse on the Azores - you have grown your own pineapple! - I might just start off the process inside a heated propagator inside a greenhouse in Summer in London... and see how far I get!