Fig

Ficus spp.

Fig Tree

profile iconStarr 080305-3308 Ficus benghalensis
by Forest & Kim Starr (CC BY 3.0)
1 of 13
profile iconStarr 080305-3308 Ficus benghalensis
by Forest & Kim Starr (CC BY 3.0)
1 of 13
The genus Ficus is also known commonly as Fig or Fig Trees, this large genus contains over 800 species of mostly evergreen trees and large shrubs, with some deciduous species and climbers. They grow to anywhere between 1–10m in height. Most produce aerial roots and characteristic smooth white bark. Although commonly referred to as a fruit, the fig is actually a fleshy, hollow-ended stem containing multiple flowers. More technically, this is classed as both a multiple and accessory fruit, rather than a true fruit. Figs are highly pollinator-specific, with most species pollinated by specific species of fig wasp. Some species are parthenocarpic, meaning they develop fruits without pollination. Leaf structure varies across species, the most well known of which belongs to F. carica, also known as the Common Fig, which has very distinctive leaves divided into 3 or 5 lobes. The sap can be a skin irritant and foliage can cause stomach upsets if ingested.

Planning

Difficulty

Moderate

Flowering time

Summer

Fruiting time

Summer, Autumn

Harvesting

Figs should be harvested when they are completely ripe, fully coloured, and slightly soft to the touch. When picking figs, wear gloves or long sleeves because the sap from the tree can irritate skin.

Propagation

Cuttings

Prefered propagation way of true cultivars. Take 30-40 cm long cuttings in winter, while dormant, and root in well draining sand mix.

Seed

Sow seed in winter and keep moist. It takes about 1–3 months to germinate.

Special features

Attractive fruits

The edible fruit contains numerous one-seeded fruits. The fruit is 3–5 cm long, with a green skin, sometimes ripening towards purple or brown.

Drought resistant

Hedge plant

Figs can be tree-trained or espaliered into beautiful shapes and make an effective hedge screen.

Attractive leaves

Special features

Origin

Middle East and Western Asia

Natural climate

Tropical and subtropical

Environment

Light

Full Sun, Partial Shade, Partial Sun

Soil moisture

Moist

Soil type

Loam, Chalk, Sand

Soil PH preference

Neutral, Alkaline

Frost hardiness

Hardy

Uses

Medicinal

Figs are high in fibre and essential minerals like Calsium, Magnesium, Copper, Manganese and Vitamins.

Edible

Figs are used fresh, dried or preserved.

Personality

Family

Moraceae

Flower colour

Green

Scent

Mild

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