- Scientific name: Ficus carica
- Family: Moraceae
Deciduous shrub or tree with a rounded crown, up to 9m tall. Latex runs when slashed. Twigs stout, lightly hairy when young, become smooth and hairless with age. Leaves spirally formed, appearing alternate, 3-5-lobed, rough to the touch (scabrous), leaf margins with teeth (dentate). Flowers on the same plant are either male or female (monoecious). Fruits compound and composed of fruitlets enclosed in a receptacle (synconium). Figs axillary, amoung leaves, solitary, pear-shaped, green to maroon-brown. Pollinated by fig wasps.
- The fruits grow in abundance on fig trees.
- Fig fruits are eaten fresh and dried. They are also used for various medicinal purposes; for example, to make the mild laxative syrup of figs.
- The fig has many biblical associations: most famously its leaves were used by Adam and Eve to clothe themselves after eating the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil in the garden of Eden.
- The English phrase to ‘not give a fig’ - meaning that you don’t think something is important - is thought to relate to the fact that fig trees produce many fruits.
Where it grows
The fig is native to the Middle East, but is now cultivated worldwide
Figs are primarily pollinated by fig wasps, which enter the flower through the hole at the base of the fruiting structure.
- Ovate: two-dimensionally egg-shaped with widest part at base.