Did You Know Wine Grapevines are Hermaphroditic?

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Last time we explored the life cycle of a grape vine and learned that they are perennials; they re-grow year-after-year. But, one of the more fascinating facts about grape vines has to do with how the flowers get pollinated.

Most flowering plants depend on insects, typically bees, to pollinate their flowers in order to produce fruit. And, that's the way it was with grape vines back a few thousand years B.C.  But, things eventually changed.  Back then, the people cultivating grapes were, for good reasons, choosing only female plants - the ones that produced fruit. That makes a lot of sense until you realize you need both the male and female plant in order to actually produce fruit. So, ultimately, if all you are planting is the female plant, you'd get no fruit.  But, nature has a way of rolling with these punches.  As early cultivators continued year-after-year to select and propagate fruit producing grape vines, they actually ended up selecting and propagating 'mutant' grape vines that had both the female and male parts on the same vine! And, voilà, no further need for insects to get involved in the pollinating process. The grape vine took care of things all by itself! And, so, the mighty grape vine evolved to became Hermaphroditic - simultaneously possessing the reproductive organs of both sexes!

So, there you go. Yet another fun fact about grape vines. Cheers!