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Pineapple leaves


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Common names 

Pineapple [English]; piña, ananá, ananás [Spanish]; ananas [French/Dutch]; ananás, abacaxi [Portuguese]; pynappel [Afrikaans]; zannanna [Haitian Creole]; abarba [Hausa]; nanas, nenas [Indonesian]; ganas [Sundanese]; pinya [Tagalog]; dứa [Vietnamese]; ኣናናስ [Amharic]; أناناس [Arabic]; আনারস [Bengali]; 菠蘿 [Chinese]; अनानास [Hindi]; אננס [Hebrew]; パイナップル [Japanese]; ಅನಾನಸ್ [Kannada]; 파인애플 [Korean]; ໝາກນັດ [Lao]; കൈതച്ചക്ക [Malayalam]; अननस [Marathi]; ਅਨਾਨਾਸ [Punjabi]; ананас [Russian]; අන්නාසි [Sinhala]; அன்னாசி [Tamil]; అనాస [Telugu]; สับปะรด [Thai]; انناس [Urdu]


  • fresh pineapple leaves, pineapple green chop, pineapple crown
  • dried pineapple leaves, pineapple hay

Ananas ananas (L.) Voss, Ananas duckei hort., nom. inval., Ananas sativus Schult. & Schult. f., Ananas sativus var. duckei Camargo, nom. nud., Bromelia ananas L., Bromelia comosa L.


The pineapple (Ananas comosus (L.) Merr.) is one of the most popular tropical fruit in the world. World pineapple production was 18 million tons in 2009 (FAO, 2011). Beside fruits, pineapple fields yield large amounts of leaves that may be used for their high quality fibre or as feedstuff for ruminants (Ecocrop, 2011).

The pineapple is a stoloniferous herbaceous, short-lived perennial plant that can reach 0.75-1.25 m in height, with a short and thick stem and a very shallow root. The leaves are waxy, succulent, 50-180 cm long and sword-like, and bear sharp upcurved spines on the edges. The leaves are arranged in a rosette around the stem. Leaf colour is very variable: from uniform green to variously striped with red, yellow or ivory down the middle or near the margins. Offshoots emerge from the stem at leaf axils. They are divided into aerial suckers and basal suckers. Basal suckers allow ratooning, but ratoon crops yield less (see Forage management below) (Ecocrop, 2011). The flowers are small and trimerous, red or purple, borne on an inflorescence at the apex of the stem (Ecoport, 2010). Flowering occurs progressively from the base up to the apex of the stem. The fruits are berries that merge together and form a single, cone-shaped, juicy and fleshy fruit whose core is the former stem. The fruit develops in 20 days. The fruit is generally seedless and is very variable in shape, size, weight and colour (from greenish to reddish or yellowish). Flesh colour varies from nearly white to yellow (Morton, 1987).


Pineapples are native to tropical America, but are now cultivated in many warm countries, between 25°S (sometimes down to 33°S) and N. They grow from sea level up to an altitude of 1800 m, though fruit size and quality are higher at low altitudes. It requires a high relative humidity. In subtropical regions it can only be grown in frost-free areas: frost and temperatures of 0-5°C can kill the crop in a few days (Ecocrop, 2011).

Forage management 

Pineapple can be a useful agroforestry species (Ecocrop, 2011). Green material yield may range from 30 t/ha to 60-80 t/ha (Model et al., 2000; Göhl, 1982). The optimum yield is 60-80 t/ha for the first harvest. First ratoon crop yields approximately 10% less, the second ratoon crop 30% less (Göhl, 1982).

Environmental impact 

Agroforestry systems

Pineapples are a valuable species for agroforestry systems and play a role in soil improvement in regenerative analog agroforestry systems (Hasan et al., 2008; Vaz, 2000). In Bangladesh, when grown together with jackfruit they can help to cover human vitamin requirements (Hasan et al., 2008).

Soil erosion control and shelter

The pineapple crop also offers protection against heavy rain and winds to intercropped species and to the soil (Uriza-Avila et al., 2005).

Nutritional aspects
Nutritional attributes 

Pineapple plant forage is highly fibrous (NDF 58-73% DM) with a low crude protein content (4 to 7% DM). The dried leaves at the bottom of the stems have a lower nutritive value than green leaves (Kellems et al., 1979). Leaves should not be used for non-ruminants (Fuller, 2004).

Potential constraints 


Pinapple leaves are spiny and contain bromelain (a proteolytic enzyme). They may injure and cause skin problems to the workers who cut the leaves to feed animals. Pineapple leaves should not be used to feed pigs and poultry (Göhl, 1982).

Pesticides residues

In Hawaii in 1982, heptachlor (a carcinogenic pesticide) was found in the milk from cows fed fresh chopped pineapple leaves. The pesticide had been used to control the ants that tend mealybugs (Morton, 1987).


Pineapple leaves are a medium-quality roughage for ruminants. It is possible to let cattle graze pineapple leaves but this practice tends to compact the soil and it is recommended to cut the leaves instead (Py et al., 1987). Pineapple leaves can be used fresh, artificially dried or ensiled. They must always be chopped before use. It is recommended to ensile pineapple leaves with molasses. Though the silage is relatively low in protein and high in fibre, ruminants can be daily fed 15-20 kg of fresh or ensiled plants when other feed is scarce. The dried leaves can be advantageously pelleted (Morton, 1987; Göhl, 1982).

Because pineapple leaves have a low and poorly digestible protein content, supplementation with protein sources is necessary (Kellems et al., 1979).

Dairy cows

Pineapple hay can be used as a roughage source of medium quality for lactating dairy cows (Prachyalak et al., 2000; Snitwomg et al., 2000; Otagaki et al., 1961). Whatever the ration (fresh grass or total mixed ration), cows fed on pineapple hay have slightly higher intake, slightly lower milk production, and equal or slightly higher butterfat levels (Prachyalak et al., 2001; Prachyalak et al., 2000). Pineapple hay is not detrimental to animal health or to milk flavour (Dronawat et al., 1966; Otagaki et al., 1960).

Dairy cows rations containing a mix of pineapple hay (pelleted or not) and pineapple bran resulted in lower milk yields of similar protein content and higher milk fat than rations based on pineapple bran alone (Dronawat et al., 1966).

In a long-term experiment covering several lactations, pineapple silage was fed as the sole roughage to dairy cows. After the second lactation, it caused lower milk yield, lower appetite, weight losses, lighter calf weights, coat abnormalities and pica. Milk production and abnormalities were corrected with a supplement of alfalfa hay. These problems were not considered to be specific to the pineapple silage but rather to the effect of prolonged silage feeding as the only form of roughage (Bishop et al., 1974).

Fattening and growing cattle

Pineapple leaves fed alone to fattening cattle resulted in higher intakes but lower daily weight gains and lower carcass characteristics resulting in reduced financial returns for farmers (Prachyalak et al., 2001). When pineapple leaves were mixed with fresh grass or offered with total mixed rations the results were different: the fattening cattle had increased intakes but also higher daily weight gain and better dressing characteristics, thus resulting in more profit (Prachyalak et al., 2001; Prachyalak et al., 1999). Good growth results (0.77 kg daily weight gain/animal) were obtained in steers fed on pineapple leaf silage supplemented with soybean meal as a source of protein, though this diet did not compare favourably with the control maize grain/alfalfa diet in terms of average daily gain and feed conversion (Kellems et al., 1979). The value of feeding both pineapple canning by-products and pineapple crop residues (leaves and stems) was demonstrated in the Philippines, where large scale feeding trials on cattle given pineapple pulp and pineapple leaf silage, together with a 35% protein concentrate at 0.6% body weight, gave daily live-weight gains of between 0.38 and 0.48 kg (Albarece, 1979 cited by Devendra, 1985).


In sheep, an aqueous extract of pineapple leaves was found to have a moderate anthelmintic effect against gastrointestinal nematodiasis (Khalid et al., 2005).


In Australia, rabbits eat pineapple leaves during winter (Morton, 1987).

Horses and donkeys 

Pineapple crowns are sometimes fed to horses (Morton, 1987).

Nutritional tables
Tables of chemical composition and nutritional value 

Avg: average or predicted value; SD: standard deviation; Min: minimum value; Max: maximum value; Nb: number of values (samples) used

Main analysis Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
Dry matter % as fed 20.6 1
Crude protein % DM 9.1 1
Crude fibre % DM 23.6 1
Ether extract % DM 1.6 1
Ash % DM 4.9 1
Gross energy MJ/kg DM 18.2 *
Ruminant nutritive values Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
ME ruminants (FAO, 1982) MJ/kg DM 11.5 1
Nitrogen digestibility, ruminants % 77.1 1

The asterisk * indicates that the average value was obtained by an equation.


Otagaki et al., 1960

Last updated on 24/10/2012 00:44:47

Main analysis Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
Dry matter % as fed 19.1 1
Crude protein % DM 6.0 1
Crude fibre % DM 22.8 1
Ether extract % DM 2.9 1
Ash % DM 10.0 1
Gross energy MJ/kg DM 17.5 *

The asterisk * indicates that the average value was obtained by an equation.


Otagaki et al., 1960

Last updated on 24/10/2012 00:44:47

Datasheet citation 

Heuzé V., 2015. Pineapple leaves. Feedipedia, a programme by INRA, CIRAD, AFZ and FAO. http://www.feedipedia.org/node/675 Last updated on October 2, 2015, 9:54

English correction by Tim Smith (Animal Science consultant) and Hélène Thiollet (AFZ)
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