About 30 years ago, Canadian cherry breeders started to develop and breed sweet cherry varieties that had the proper genes to self-pollinate. Stella Sweet Cherry was the very first.
Many older sweet cherry varieties have sets of genes which will allow them to only pollinate other sweet cherry cultivars with other sets of compatible genes. This is why sweet cherry pollination requirements have always been more confusing and restrictive than many other fruits. If the genetics of the two varieties that are meant to pollinate each other are not quite right, then pollination will not happen and no fruit will develop. Scientists and researchers know how most varieties fall into these compatible pollination groups, and there are charts and tables which explain it all, but it is not an easy concept to get across to the back yard orchardist.
Self-fertile varieties solve this problem by having the proper genes to pollinate themselves. They also are wonderful pollen providers for other non-self-fertile cherries.
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