Monday, November 14, 2016
The Edible Fig - Ficus carica
The Edible Fig - Ficus carica, is a deciduous large shrub or tree that reaches heights of 10-32 feet tall. It grows in and erect upright fashion with multiple trunks and a spreading crown. Introduced originally from Asia it has been naturalized from Alabama, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia. This is the only Fig growing in the United States with lobed or palmate leaves.
Image Citation: Lesley Ingram, Bugwood.org
The leaves are alternate, simply shaped, ovate or circular, with 3-5 broad lobes, flattened base and bluntly pointed and toothed tip. The upper leaf surface is dark or medium green in color, the lower is paler in color, both are rough to the touch. The fruit is a hairy pear shaped, leathery Fig that is green, yellow, reddish brown in color and 3-8 cm long and matures in the Fall each year. The bark is gray-brown in color, smooth or slightly textured.
Image Citation: David Karp, Bugwood.org
Fig plants are considered to be easily propagated through many different methods. The edible fig is one of the first plants that was cultivated by humans with fossil evidence being found as far back as 9400-9200 BC, predating wheat, barley and legumes. Fig plants can be found at specialty nurseries and but not readily available at smaller local nurseries.