This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V24", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
"F. J. U.," Eufaula, Ala., writes : "I planted a bed of Wilson's Albany strawberries, and took the plants from an old bed - three years old; astonishing to me, these plants grew better and more luxurious than I had ever seen, but they did not bear. I sold runners from this bed last fall, winter, and this spring, and all of my customers are complaining that their plants do not bear either. As I have never experienced the like, I ask you kindly to give me some information about this. Tell me, please, whether there are male and female plants in strawberries. I have never heard of it, but many a body says there are. Or tell me, please, whether you know another cause of their not bearing?"
[We have known exactly such a case with the Albany Seedling strawberry. A bed which had borne regularly for years, suddenly failed to bear any, and plants from this bed were in like manner barren, much to the annoyance of the nurseryman who sold the plants, and of the customers who bought them. We know of one nurseryman who gave up growing the Albany solely on account of this tendency to give out.
The normal condition of the strawberry, as in other allied Rosaceous plants, is to be hermaphrodite ; but it is very liable to have abortive stamens, or abortive pistils, and hence to be what pomologists call, "staminate" or "pistillate," and these characters once assumed, are, to a certain extent, hereditary At one time it was supposed that the characters once assumed, were as unchangeable as "males" and "females" among animals. But this was fully discussed a quarter of a century ago, and the fact shown to be that heredity had not an absolute control of this feature. In other words the sexual characters of strawberries sometimes change. - Ed. G. M].