For strawberries, the notion of separate sexes never really gained much of a foothold. And this was not just due to their lack of feet.
While it is a popular notion among fruits to use the traffic of insects in order to trasport pollen from one plant to another, the Strawberry chose a somewhat more sedentary and far-sighted approach. It decided to evolve itself into a hermaphrodite so it could just stay home and self-pollinate.
By saving the energy it would have spent on pollen production, the Strawberry could also invest its energy on developing the qualities of taste and aroma that would ultimately delight the consumers who would not just transport its seeds but also propagate its kind.
Though the Strawberry’s strategy worked and its most ardent admirer, mankind, cultivated its progeny far and wide, the sweet aroma of success for the Strawberry came with one very bitter irony.
Commercial agriculture is now actually circumscribing rather than celebrating the Strawberry’s capacity for diversity. It is inhibiting the same capacity for variation that the Strawberry used to fascinate mankind in the first place.
Where once there were dozens of strawberry varieties found in farms and greenhouses across the U.S, today almost the entire strawberry crop in America consists of a single variety called the “Pineapple Strawberry”, or Fragaria ananassa.