Hawaii has more endangered species per square mile than any other place on the planet and that does not include the Alpha Japanese Female (AJF) referring to me as the “odd duck.”
But some common critters are missing in the islands.
We have no robins, magpies or chickadees. No seagulls and no pelicans. We don’t have raccoons or skunks and you’ll never see Possum One. You cannot buy a hamster here.
Forget about gerbils and snakes as they, too, are prohibited.
On the other hand, we have mynah birds and mongooses, geckos and pseudo cardinals with red topknots and gray bodies.
We have centipedes and flying cockroaches the size of small pets.
Because we have such an isolated environment and a plethora of unique species our State is very concerned about the potential for invasive species.
Currently there is a growing threat from the Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle – a battle tank of an insect, a bad dream for bug haters, the ’69 Cadillac of bugs. And they fly, too.
This guy burrows into palm trees and eats the heart from them and given his size and appetite, this is a real threat.
But I digress.
One other thing missing in Hawaii are hummingbirds.
Nope, despite popular opinion and romanticized visions of tropical islands, there are no hummers here. In fact, they are banned by State law.
“Why?” you ask. Well that’s why you come to this silly dog blog. I can answer your question.
It all has to do with pineapples. And pollination.
See, pollination is a bad word in the world of pineapples.
If the pineapple flower pollinates then seeds will develop and that is not desirable in fruit for the market.
Picture a pineapple with all those little geo-domes on its hide, the funny little medallions that make up its outer skin. Were the plant to pollinate, each of those discs would grow a hard seed making the pineapple tougher than Chuck Norris.
How tough is Chuck Norris? Well, let’s just say he can text from a pay phone, he can cut through a hot knife with butter, he can…oh never mind…
Pineapples are native to South America having been grown first by the Guarani Indians in Brazil and Paraguay. Since pineapples are unable to self-fertilize, they will only develop seeds if they are cross-pollinated with another pineapple plant. Their primary pollinators are…wait for it… hummingbirds.
Yes there is a certain irony in banning non-native hummingbirds while encouraging non-native fruit plants but, hey, there’s a whole lot more money in pines than hummers. Deal with it.
So forget pollination of the flowers by tiny winged creatures. While pineapples can reproduce sexually through seeds, they are most often propagated by planting the crowns or the little tuft-like growths that occur on the bottom of the fruit.
Side note: as a young man I worked in the Kauai pineapple fields, walking behind a moving conveyor truck picking up the pine crowns after the fruit had been plucked.
Hardest, hottest, most miserable job I ever had. The pineapple leaves are sharp spines that constantly spear you and draw blood despite being bundled and the cane spiders were big enough to bark. A story for another day and proof my parents hated me.
Here’s a unique pineapple fact that can win you a few bar bets, payable in mai tais, pina coladas, hurricanes, zombies or other tropical drinks with a pineapple juice base: a pineapple does not continue to ripen after it has been picked. Nope, that’s because the fruit does not have a starch reserve that would allow it to ripen any further.
By the way, the Absolut vodka website lists over 205 cocktails for which pineapple juice is an ingredient. That alone should give everyone a reason to live.
Maltese, however, are not fond of pineapples. From Max’s perspective, pineapples are good only for establishing the size of a certain small pushy dog.