Sex Life of Strawberries

garden-strawberries

 

For strawberries, the notion of separate sexes never really gained much of a foothold. Surprisingly, this was not just due to their lack of feet.

While its a commonplace among fruits to use insects to help them transport pollen, the strawberry chose a more sedentary and yet also more ambitious approach. The strawberry decided to evolve itself into a hermaphrodite in order to forgo the traffic of insects and self-pollinate.

The clever strawberry was not being slothful. Instead, it was saving the energy it would have spent on pollen production to cultivate the sweet taste and pleasant aroma that would eventually inspire two-legged consumers to not just transport its pollen but also propagate its strawberry progeny far and wide.

The strawberry’s reproductive strategy worked admirably, though the sweet smell of success did come with a bitter note of irony. You see, it turns out that humanity is not quite as dedicated to diversity as the strawberry. Where once there were dozens of varieties found flourishing in farms and greenhouses across early America, today almost the entire U.S. strawberry crop consists of one species: the “Pineapple Strawberry”, or Fragaria ananassa.  

And yet apparently there are still novel strawberries varieties out there just waiting to be plucked. In 2012, a brand new wild strawberry species was found fruiting in the high peaks of Oregon’s Cascade Mountains. Since the new strawberry species is endemic to the Western Cascades it was dubbed Fragaria cascadensis.