The far-sighted strawberry evolved into a hermaphrodite in order to avoid all the effort of trying to seduce insects to help it transport its pollen. By making this bold lifestyle choice the strawberry could channel more of its the energy into developing it sweet taste and pleasant aroma.
The strawberry’s goal was to inspire berry lovers to not just transport its pollen to a nearby site, but to actively propagate its progeny worldwide.
The strawberry’s reproductive strategy worked perfectly, but the sweet smell of success also came with one bitter truth. The industrial values of today’s large-scale agriculture prize quantity over diversity. Where once there were dozens of strawberry varieties flourishing in farms and greenhouses across the United States, now almost the entire U.S. strawberry crop consists of a single species, the “Pineapple Strawberry”, or Fragaria ananassa.
And yet there may still remain undiscovered strawberry varieties in the wild. As recently as 2012, a brand new wild strawberry species was discovered fruiting in the high peaks of Oregon’s Cascade Mountains. Endemic to the area, the new variety was dubbed Fragaria cascadensis.