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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Common Fig
Common Fig foliage and fruit
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Rosales
Family: Moraceae
Tribe: Ficeae
Genus: Ficus
Subgenus: Ficus
Species: F. carica
Binomial name
Ficus carica

The Common fig (Ficus carica) is a large, deciduous shrub or small tree native to southwest Asia and the eastern Mediterranean region (from Afghanistan to Greece). It grows to a height of 6.9–10 metres (23–33 ft) tall, with smooth grey bark. The leaves are 12–25 centimetres (4.7–9.8 in) long and 10–18 centimetres (3.9–7.1 in) across, and deeply lobed with three or five lobes. The fruit is 3–5 centimetres (1.2–2.0 in) long, with a green skin, sometimes ripening towards purple or brown. The sap of the fig's green parts is an irritant to human skin.[1]


Cultivation and uses

Fresh figs cut open showing the flesh and seeds inside

The Common Fig is widely grown for its edible fruit throughout its natural range in the Mediterranean region, Iran and northern India, and also in other areas of the world with a similar climate, including Louisiana, California, Oregon, Texas, South Carolina, and Washington in the United States, Nuevo León and Coahuila in northeastern Mexico, as well as Australia, Chile, and South Africa. Figs can also be found in continental climate with hot summer, as far north as Hungary, and can be picked twice or thrice per year. Thousands of cultivars, most unnamed, have been developed or come into existence as human migration brought the fig to many places outside its natural range. It has been an important food crop for thousands of years, and was also thought to be highly beneficial in the diet.

The edible fig is one of the first plants that was cultivated by humans. Nine subfossil figs of a parthenocarpic type dating to about 9400–9200 BC were found in the early Neolithic village Gilgal I (in the Jordan Valley, 13 km north of Jericho). The find predates the domestication of wheat, barley, and legumes, and may thus be the first known instance of agriculture. It is proposed that they may have been planted and cultivated intentionally, one thousand years before the next crops were domesticated (wheat and rye).[2]

Figs were also a common food source for the Romans. Cato the Elder, in his De Agri Cultura, lists several strains of figs grown at the time he wrote his handbook: the Mariscan, African, Herculanean, Saguntine, and the black Tellanian (De agri cultura, ch. 8). The fruits were used, among other things, to fatten geese for the production of a precursor of foie gras.

Figs can be eaten fresh or dried, and used in jam-making. Most commercial production is in dried or otherwise processed forms, since the ripe fruit does not transport well, and once picked does not keep well.


Production statistics

Fig output in 2005
Fig, dried, uncooked
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 1,041 kJ (249 kcal)
Carbohydrates 63.87 g
Sugars 47.92 g
Dietary fiber 9.8 g
Fat 0.93 g
Protein 3.30 g
Thiamine (Vit. B1) 0.085 mg (7%)
Riboflavin (Vit. B2) 0.082 mg (5%)
Niacin (Vit. B3) 0.619 mg (4%)
Pantothenic acid (B5) 0.434 mg (9%)
Vitamin B6 0.106 mg (8%)
Folate (Vit. B9) 9 μg (2%)
Vitamin C 1.2 mg (2%)
Calcium 162 mg (16%)
Iron 2.03 mg (16%)
Magnesium 68 mg (18%)
Phosphorus 67 mg (10%)
Potassium 680 mg (14%)
Zinc 0.55 mg (6%)
Percentages are relative to US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient database

FAO reports the 2005 fig-production was 1,057,000 tonnes; Turkey was the top fig-producer (285,000 tonnes), followed by Egypt (170,000 tonnes) and other Mediterranean countries.

Aydın, İzmir and Muğla region, which used to be called antique Caria region, are the top fig-producers in Turkey.


  • Alma
  • Brown Turkey
  • Celeste
  • Italian black
  • Italian white
  • Kadota: used in Fig Newtons, dries well
  • Lemon Fig: also known as Blanch, or Marseilles
  • Mission: black, sweet, commonly dried.
Dried figs


Figs are one of the highest plant sources of calcium and fiber. According to USDA data for the Mission variety, dried figs are richest in fiber, copper, manganese, magnesium, potassium, calcium, and vitamin K, relative to human needs. They have smaller amounts of many other nutrients. Figs have a laxative effect and contain many antioxidants. They are good source of flavonoids and polyphenols.[3] In one study, a 40-gram portion of dried figs (two medium size figs) produced a significant increase in plasma antioxidant capacity.[4]

Pollination, fruit, and propagation

Although commonly referred to as a fruit, the fig fruit is actually the flower of the tree, known as an inflorescence (an arrangement of multiple flowers), a false fruit or multiple fruit, in which the flowers and seeds grow together to form a single mass. The genus Dorstenia, also in the fig's family (Moraceae), exhibits similar tiny flowers arranged on a receptacle but in this case the receptacle is a more or less flat, open surface. The flower is not visible, as it blooms inside the fruit. The small orifice (ostiole) visible on the middle of the fruit is a narrow passage, which allows a very specialized wasp, the fig wasp, to enter the fruit and pollinate the flower, whereafter the fruit grows seeds. See Ficus: Fig pollination and fig fruit.

Two crops of figs are potentially produced each year.[5] The first or breba crop develops in the spring on last year's shoot growth. In contrast, the main fig crop develops on the current year's shoot growth and ripens in the late summer or fall. The main crop is generally superior in both quantity and quality than the breba crop. However, some cultivars produce good breba crops (e.g., Black Mission, Croisic, and Ventura).

There are basically three varieties of common figs:[6]

  • Caducous (or Smyrna) figs require pollination by the fig wasp and caprifigs to develop crops. Some cultivars are Calimyrna, Marabout, and Zidi.
  • Persistent (or Common) figs do not need pollination; fruit develop through parthenocarpic means. This is the variety of fig most commonly grown by home gardeners. Adriatic, Black Mission, Brown Turkey, Brunswick, and Celeste are some representative cultivars.
  • Intermediate (or San Pedro) figs do not need pollination to set the breba crop, but do need pollination, at least in some regions, for the main crop. Examples are Lampeira, King, and San Pedro.

Figs plants are easy to propagate through several methods. Propagation using seeds is not the preferred method since vegetative methods exist that are quicker and more reliable (that is, they do not yield the inedible caprifigs).

For propagation in the mid-summer months, air layer new growth in August (mid-summer) or insert hardened off 15–25 cm (6-10 inches) shoots into moist perlite or a sandy soil mix, keeping the cuttings shaded until new growth begins; then gradually move them into full sun. An alternative propagation method is bending over a taller branch, scratching the bark to reveal the green inner bark, then pinning the scratched area tightly to the ground. Within a few weeks, roots will develop and the branch can be clipped from the mother plant and transplanted where desired.

For spring propagation, before the tree starts growth, cut 15–25 cm (6-10 inches) shoots that have healthy buds at their ends, and set into a moist perlite and/or sandy soil mix located in the shade. Once the cuttings start to produce leaves, bury them up to the bottom leaf to give the plant a good start in the desired location.

Cultural aspects

In the Book of Genesis in the Bible, Adam and Eve clad themselves with fig leaves (Genesis 3:7) after eating the "forbidden fruit" from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Likewise, fig leaves, or depictions of fig leaves, have long been used to cover the genitals of nude figures in painting and sculpture. Often these fig leaves were added by art collectors or exhibitors long after the original work was completed. The use of the fig leaf as a protector of modesty or shield of some kind has entered the language.

The biblical quote "each man under his own vine and fig tree" (1 Kings 4:25) has been used to denote peace and prosperity. It was commonly quoted to refer to the life that would be led by settlers in the American West, and was used by Theodor Herzl in his depiction of the future Jewish Homeland{{"We are a commonwealth. In form it is new, but in purpose very ancient. Our aim is mentioned in the First Book of Kings: 'Judah and Israel shall dwell securely, each man under his own vine and fig tree, from Dan to Beersheba'.[7]'}}.

There is a chapter in the Quran named after the fig tree, and the fruit is also mentioned in Qur'an in many places. The Quran mentioned figs and then the Prophet Muhammad [s] stated, "If I had to mention a fruit that descended from paradise, I would say this is it because the paradisiacal fruits do not have from these fruits for they prevent hemorrhoids, prevent piles and help gout."[8]

Since the flower is invisible, there is a Bengali idiom as used in tumi jeno dumurer phool hoe gele, i.e., you have become (invisible like) the dumur flower. The derisive English idiom I don't care a fig probably originates from the abundance of this fruit.

In Greek mythology, the god Apollo sends a crow to collect water from a stream for him. The crow sees a fig tree and waits for the figs to ripen, tempted by the fruit. He knows that he is late and that his tardiness will be punished, so he gets a snake from the stream and collects the water. He presents Apollo with the water and uses the snake as an excuse. Apollo sees through the crow's lie and throws the crow, goblet, and snake into the sky where they form the constellations Hydra, Crater, and Corvus.

In Aristophanes' Lysistrata one of the women boasts about the "curriculum" of initiation rites she went through to become an adult woman (Lys. 641–7). As her final accomplishment before marriage, when she was already a fair girl, she bore the basket as a kanephoros, wearing a necklace of dried figs.[9]

Cato the Elder was a Roman statesman who urged the Romans to the Third Punic War to destroy Carthage. Before the Senate, he produced a handful of fresh figs, said to be from Carthage. This showed its proximity to Rome (and hence the threat)—figs are also associated with femininity (due to the appearance of the inside of the fruit), and an insult may have been intended.[10]

The word "sycophant" actually means "showing the figs" (derived by the Greek words σῦκον, sýkon, "fig", and φαίνω, phaínō, "to show") and was used in ancient Athens for those who informed against another for exporting figs (which was forbidden by law), or for stealing the fruit of the sacred fig-trees, whether in time of famine or on any other occasion (Plutarch, Life of Solon, 24, 2.). Figs from Attica were especially prized and were a valuable export commodity. As a result, Athens had decreed that the very profitable fig business was to be a state monopoly and all fig growers were obliged to sell their entire produce to the state. Falsely accusing someone of clandestine transactions with figs was therefore a convenient way to slander them before the courts.[citation needed]

The fig tree is sacred to Dionysus Sukites (Συκίτης). The Indian fig tree, Ficus bengalensis, is the National Tree of India.[11]

Picture gallery

Leaf & Fruit Fruit The Expulsion Cross-section

Common fig - leaves and green figs.jpg.jpg

Ficus carica0.jpg



Leaves and green fruit on common fig tree

Common Fig fruit

The Expulsion from the Garden of Edenfresco depicting a distressed Adam and Eve, with and without fig leaves, by Tommaso Masaccio, 1426-27

Cutaway-section displaying the fruit anatomy

See also


  1. ^ Purdue University: Horticulture & Landscape Architecture. Fig, Ficus carica.
  2. ^ Kislev et al. (2006a, b), Lev-Yadun et al. (2006)
  3. ^ Vinson (1999)
  4. ^ Vinson et al. (2005)
  5. ^ California Rare Fruit Growers: Fig
  6. ^ North American Fruit Explorers: Figs.
  7. ^ Old New Land by Theodor Herzl [1] Old New Land
  8. ^ "Foods of the prophet". IslamOnline.  The Quote by prophet Muhammad is from Bukhari.
  9. ^ κἀκανηφόρουν ποτ’ οὖσα παῖς καλὴ ‘χους’ / ἰσχάδων ὁρμαθόν.
  10. ^
  11. ^ National Tree : India [2]


External links

FIG may refer to:

  • Common fig, a large, deciduous shrub native to southwest Asia and the eastern Mediterranean region.
  • Ficus, a genus of about 850 species of woody trees, shrubs in the family Moraceae.



Up to date as of January 15, 2010
(Redirected to fig article)

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Wikipedia has an article on:





Etymology 1

From Old French figue, from Old Provençal figa, from Vulgar Latin fīca (fig), from Latin fīcus (fig tree), of non-Indo-European origin: perhaps from Phoenician pagh, paggím (half-ripe fig). In any case, akin to the source of Ancient Greek σῦκον (sukon), fig), (Boeotian) τῦκον (tukon) and Old Armenian թուզ (tʿuz).





fig (plural figs)

  1. A tree or shrub of the genus Ficus that is native mainly to the tropics and produces a fruit of the same name.
  2. The fruit of the fig, pear-shaped and containing many small seeds.
Derived terms

See also

Etymology 2


fig or fig.

  1. figure (diagram or illustration).


Bible wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From BibleWiki

First mentioned in Gen 3:7. The fig-tree is mentioned (Deut 8:8) as one of the valuable products of Palestine. It was a sign of peace and prosperity (1 Kg 4:25; Mic 4:4; Zech 3:10). Figs were used medicinally (2Kg 20:7), and pressed together and formed into "cakes" as articles of diet (1Sam 30:12; Jer 24:2).

Our Lord's cursing the fig-tree near Bethany (Mk 11:13) has occasioned much perplexity from the circumstance, as mentioned by the evangelist, that "the time of figs was not yet." The explanation of the words, however, lies in the simple fact that the fruit of the fig-tree appears before the leaves, and hence that if the tree produced leaves it ought also to have had fruit. It ought to have had fruit if it had been true to its "pretensions," in showing its leaves at this particular season. "This tree, so to speak, vaunted itself to be in advance of all the other trees, challenged the passer-by that he should come and refresh himself with its fruit. Yet when the Lord accepted its challenge and drew near, it proved to be but as the others, without fruit as they; for indeed, as the evangelist observes, the time of figs had not yet arrived. Its fault, if one may use the word, lay in its pretensions, in its making a show to run before the rest when it did not so indeed" (Trench, Miracles).

The fig-tree of Palestine (Ficus carica) produces two and sometimes three crops of figs in a year, (1) the bikkurah, or "early-ripe fig" (Mic 7:1; Isa 28:4; Hos 9:10, R.V.), which is ripe about the end of June, dropping off as soon as it is ripe (Nah 3:12); (2) the kermus, or "summer fig," then begins to be formed, and is ripe about August; and (3) the pag (plural "green figs," Song 2:13; Gr. olynthos, Rev 6:13, "the untimely fig"), or "winter fig," which ripens in sheltered spots in spring.

This entry includes text from Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897.

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Facts about FigRDF feed

Simple English

Sycamore Fig, Ficus sycomorus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Rosales
Family: Moraceae
Genus: Ficus

[[File:|thumb|right|200px|A Common Fig syconium (fruit)]]

Inside of a ripe brown Turkish fig

Fig (genus Ficus) is a soft, sweet fruit. Its skin is very thin and has many small seeds inside of it. There are more than 850 species of Ficus, the fig tree.

The fruits can be eaten when ripe and when dried. Figs grow in warm climates. Sometimes, figs are made into jam. Figs are also in a popular snack.

Figs are pollinated by fig wasps.


Fig fruit

The fig fruit is called a synconium. Many figs are grown for their fruit, though only Ficus carica, the Common Fig, is cultivated to any extent for human consumption.

The fig is a false fruit or multiple fruit, in which the flowers and seeds grow together to form a single mass. Depending on the species, each fruit can contain up to several hundred to several thousand seeds.[1]

A fig "fruit" is derived from a specially adapted type of inflorescence (an arrangement of multiple flowers). In this case, it is a turned inwards, nearly closed receptacle, with many small flowers arranged on the inner surface.

Thus the actual flowers of the fig are unseen unless the fig is cut open. It is a fruit without a visible flower.[2]

Contents of the fruit

The fig fruits, important as both food and traditional medicine, contain laxative substances, flavonoids, sugars, vitamins A and C, acids and enzymes. However, figs are skin allergens, and the sap is a serious eye irritant.

Cultivated figs

Some parthenocarpic ('virgin fruit') cultivars of Common Figs do not require pollination at all, and will produce a crop of seedless edible figs without caprifigs or fig wasps.

Pollination and fig wasps

The syconium often has a bulbous shape with a small opening (the ostiole) at the outward end used by pollinators. The flowers are pollinated by very small wasps which crawl through the opening in search of a suitable place to lay eggs.

Without this, fig trees cannot reproduce by seed. In turn, the flowers provide a safe haven and nourishment for the next generation of wasps. This has led to a co-evolutionary relationship.

Fig plants can be monoecious (hermaphrodite) or gynodioecious (hermaphrodite and female).[3] Nearly half of fig species are gynodioecious, and have plants with inflorescences (syconium) with long styled pistillate flowers, or have plants with staminate flowers mixed with short styled pistillate flowers.[4] The long flower styles tend to prevent wasps from laying their eggs within the ovules, while the short styled flowers are accessible for egg laying.[5]

On the other hand the Common Fig (Ficus carica) is a gynodioecious plant, which means its fruits are either hermaphrodite and "inedible figs" or caprifigs; in traditional culture in the Mediterranean region they were considered food for goats (Capra aegagrus). 'Caprifig' means 'goat fig'. In the female fig trees, the male flower parts fail to develop; they produce the "edible figs".

Fig wasps grow in caprifigs but not in the female syconiums. The female flower is too long for the wasp to successfully lay her eggs in them. Nonetheless, the wasp pollinates the flower with pollen from the caprifig it grew up in. When the wasp dies, it is broken down by enzymes inside the fig. This means you do not eat the wasp because it has been dissolved. The wasp does not transmit any diseases harmful to humans.


There is typically only one species of wasp capable of fertilizing the flowers of each species of fig. For example, in Hawaii, some 60 species of figs have been introduced, but only four of the wasps that fertilize them have been introduced, so only four species of figs produce viable seeds there. This is an example of mutualism, in which each organism (fig plant and fig wasp) benefit each other, in this case reproductively.

The intimate association between fig species and their wasp pollinators, and the one-to-one plant-pollinator ratio are a clear example of co-evolution.[6] Recent genetic and molecular dating analyses have shown a close correspondence in the evolution and speciation of these two clades, figs and wasps.[7]

Other websites


  2. Denisowski, Paul 2007. Chinese-English DictionaryFig. Retrieved November 1, 2008.
  3. Armstrong, Wayne P. and Steven Disparti. 1998. A key to subgroups of dioecious (gynodioecious) figs.
  4. Friis, Ib; Balslev, Henrik; Selskab, Kongelige Danske Videnskabernes (2005), Plant diversity and complexity patterns: local, regional, and global dimensions:, Kgl. Danske Videnskabernes Selskab, pp. 472, ISBN 9788773043042,, retrieved 2009-08-21 
  6. Machado et al. (2001)
  7. Rønsted, Nina; et al 2005. 60 million years of co-divergence in the fig-wasp symbiosis. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 272 (1581): 2593–2599. doi:10.1098/rspb.2005.3249 PDF fulltext


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