WHAT do you do when you buy a pineapple from the market? Cut it off from the bunch of leaves, peel and eat it. What do you do with that bunch of leaves? Throw it? Don’t, because you can do an interesting experiment with it.
This could be a good experience for children too. They can do it in their botany laboratory. When you detach the bunch of leaves from the fruit with a knife, you get a smooth round disk at the base. The basal leaves are mostly damaged or brown at the tip and the margins. Remove them by pulling downwards or holding them between your thumb and knife and pulling. Immerse the basal disk in plain water and keep at a shady place. You will not have to wait for long. Within a week’s time, you will find beautiful white roots emerging from the edges of the base of the disk. I cannot, assure you about the offspring of the fruit emerging out of the pineapple plant thus prepared, but will let you know if it happens. Try it for yourself.
Sometimes, you just
stumble upon an idea, just as Harold Carver, Principal St. Stephens
School, once experienced a similar thing. An ardent environmentalist,
he picked up an old yucca plant from his school ground that had been
accidently cut by trench-diggers. It hurt him the most, but he put it
in a container of water with the stem dipped a few inches and put it
in his balcony. That the plant was ‘still green’ encouraged him to
continue keeping it. One day, he called me to show that his plant was
still green after four months, though it was "without
roots". When he took it out of the deep container, he was
astonished to see a bunch of beautiful pink roots curled in a round
fashion like a basket around the main stem. I saw child-like delight
and immense satisfaction in his eyes.
Fill it with water and hang it as such in the shade, like a basket. After a few days, you will notice something green at the base. That is the new emerging stems. Since the "stub" is hanging upside down, the emerging shoots will turn upwards and cover the stub from all sides. The growth will be upwards and you will get tiny baskets.
When you root a plant in water, it adapts to that kind of environment and the roots are also called water roots. These are white in colour. But when you root a plant in sand or any other medium and then put it in water, it may shed its roots and new roots are formed. Such plants live in the water medium for long.