June 05, 2012

The Horrifying Transformation of a Strawberry Flower

I went to a farm over the weekend and picked strawberries. There is something refreshing about having a connection to my food. 

Strawberries I picked with happy faces

And of course, I took the opportunity to meditate on how crazy fruit is. These strawberries, like all fruits, started out as mere flowers. The flowers have ovaries with egg cells inside, and when pollen is introduced (perhaps by a bee), the pollen fertilizes each ovary's egg cell with a tiny pollen-y sperm cell. You know, plant sex. The fertilized ovaries form seeds and fruit.

These "working flowers" lure in the bees to pollinate the strawberry flowers.

Various stage of strawberry growth.
Various stages of flower to strawberry-ness.

Picture of young and ripe strawberries.
A strawberry just starting out and a veteran strawberry underneath.

I wonder what it's like for the flower to go through such a dramatic transformation to become a tasty, tasty strawberry.

I'd imagine life as a strawberry flower must be pretty carefree and wonderful. 

Ah, a visit from a bee. How divine.

The flower senses a change. 

She has been pollinated.

 The hundreds of flower ovaries begin to swell and grow.

The fruit is taking shape.

The once luscious petals begin to wilt away, exposing the green sepals below.

The changes can be unsettling.

 But life as a strawberry isn't so bad once you get used to it.

It's downright splendid!

Well, mostly.

Oh, the strawberry carnage.

The tasty, tasty cobbler carnage.