Fig. Fig Tree. Care, Cultivation, Reproduction. Houseplants. Fruit-berry. The Fruit. A Photo

Fig. Fig Tree. Care, Cultivation, Reproduction. Houseplants. Fruit-berry. The Fruit. A Photo
Fig. Fig Tree. Care, Cultivation, Reproduction. Houseplants. Fruit-berry. The Fruit. A Photo

Video: Fig. Fig Tree. Care, Cultivation, Reproduction. Houseplants. Fruit-berry. The Fruit. A Photo

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Video: Grow Delicious Fruit - Fig Tree Care Tips - Monrovia 2023, February
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“Mighty nature is full of miracles!” Exclaims the elder Berendey from the spring fairy tale “The Snow Maiden” by A. N. Ostrovsky. One of such miracles is active coexistence, or, more precisely, the mutually necessary community of plants and animals.

Many people seem to like the amber cakes of dried figs. Its fresh fruits, which fill the markets of our south in late summer and autumn, are also very good and nutritious. To others, however, they seem excessively sweet, but this, as they say, is a matter of taste.

Fig (Common fig)
Fig (Common fig)

© H. Zell

Fig is a small to medium-sized tree with a spreading crown and light gray smooth bark. It is found here in a wild or wild state in the Transcaucasus, Crimea and Central Asia. It has large, densely pubescent leaves on the back, which on the same tree are both whole and cut into lobes.

Fig inflorescences are unique. With their unusual appearance, they even let the patriarch of modern botanical systematics Karl Linnaeus, who did not immediately manage to unravel their secret. The inflorescences, like the fruits of figs, or figs, as they are also called, are pear-shaped, with a hole on the flat top. Once in the Sukhumi Botanical Garden, the botanist Managadze took me to two apparently indistinguishable trees and asked me to guess which of them is male and which is female. No matter how much I tried to find the difference between the purple shades of figs, I never succeeded. Then my companion plucked a fruit from each plant. Taking one of them with interest, I felt its meatiness, and after taking a bite, I was convinced that the fruit was like a bag with sweet, juicy, like ready-made jam, pulp. The second fig, outwardly the same, at the first touch turned out to be flabby,hollow. Her pliable skin had finger dents. As soon as the skin of the fruit was slightly torn, tiny insects, tightly packed into it, rushed to freedom from a disturbed hive with bees. Only after such an object lesson did Managadze tell me the riddle of figs.

The male tree turned out to be a fig with flabby figs, and the female tree was juicy, edible. It also turned out that this cunning riddle had been solved in antiquity, but its main essence was discovered later.

Fig (Common fig)
Fig (Common fig)

© pbyrley

In some trees, pollination is carried out by the wind, in others, by a huge army of insects, and fertilization in figs can be accomplished only with the help of tiny black wasps - blastophages, which transfer pollen from male trees to female ones. Moreover, this wasp, in turn, cannot reproduce without the assistance of figs.

The mechanism of such coexistence is very complex. Figs form three types of inflorescences. In one of them, which develops at the end of September, the eggs and larvae of blastophages overwinter. Here, in the spring, their new generation is born, feeds and mates. Subsequently, the females, whose bodies are abundantly sprinkled with pollen, begin to look for a place to lay eggs and try to populate the second type of inflorescence from which the fig fruits develop. These inflorescences, however, are designed so that the wasps cannot lay eggs in them. While the wasp is swarming in the inflorescence, trying to settle in it, it manages to pollinate the female flowers, but it lays eggs only in the third type of inflorescences, specially designed for this by nature. A new generation of females, emerging from these inflorescences in early autumn, in turn lays eggs, which hibernate in the flower house until spring.

So, in the pear-shaped inflorescences of figs, his faithful allies, the blastophages, always find "both a table and a house." They live, feed, breed, shelter their offspring from bad weather and, in gratitude for such care, conscientiously pollinate its flowers. Botanists called the process of pollination of flowers by blastophages caprification.

Fig (Common fig)
Fig (Common fig)

© Karen Apricot New Orleans

In the Caucasus and Crimea, you can hear several versions of the legend about how one merchant decided to get rich off figs. Here is one of them. Seeing that the fruits of the figs were in great demand, he acquired a large fig garden. In the midst of gathering fruits, a cunning, envious neighbor came to him. “Why are you keeping these useless trees in your garden? - he asked the merchant, pointing to the male barren figs. - I cut mine long ago, and planted good ones. The visitor left, and the merchant grabbed an ax and cut down the "useless" trees.

Winter has passed, spring has passed, harvest time has come, but there is nothing to collect. The fruits that appeared in spring, hanging a little empty, fell off. The same story was repeated in subsequent years, until the ruined stupid merchant cut down the whole garden in a fit of anger.

However, scientists also got into trouble with figs. Following Linnaeus, the botanist Casparrini became famous for his new "discovery", who divided one type of fig into two species: he attributed male specimens to one of them, and female specimens to the second. To the hapless botanist's credit, he soon admitted his mistake.

Fig (Common fig)
Fig (Common fig)

© Ryan Somma

At one time there were such unfortunate botanists who persistently denigrated artificial caprification - a wise popular discovery, declaring it an illiterate venture. And the caprification consisted in hanging on female trees stringed capriffiges (figs from male trees). This, as it were, made up for the lack of male fig trees and ensured better pollination of female flowers. The ancient Greeks were the first to collect capriffi. They perfectly knew how to keep them at low temperatures, transported in large quantities on boats between the Aegean Islands, and even traded them. The Greeks, for the first time, began to hang capriffigs on female fig trees.

There were some misunderstandings in the resettlement of figs to America. Naturalist Ezen, who brought figs from Turkey to California, was booed by American farmers when he began to convince them at a special rally of the need to bring along with the figs his indispensable companion, the wasp, the blastophagous.

Be that as it may, but the "weird tree" as a fruit plant has been known and respected since ancient times. It is believed that the cultural form of figs comes from "happy Arabia" - Yemen, from where the ancient Phoenicians, Syrians, and then the Egyptians borrowed it. The ancient fig culture in Egypt is evidenced by the found by scientists bas-reliefs depicting the collection of figs. These creations of ancient Egyptian masters were made more than 2500 years BC.

Fig (Common fig)
Fig (Common fig)

© Runder

From Egypt, the cultivation of figs spread to the Aegean Islands, and from there (around the 9th century BC) to Hellas. Interestingly, the great philosopher Aristotle already knew about the existence of wasps accompanying figs (called psen), but their role was not fully known to him. He, as it were, guessed about their help to the fig, believing that blastophages, penetrating into its immature fruits, contribute to their preservation on the tree.

In the southern regions of our country, figs have been cultivated since ancient times. In many regions of the Caucasus and Central Asia, its fruits are not only a delicacy, but also an important highly nutritious food. They contain up to 20 percent sugar, vitamin C, carotene, iron, calcium and other beneficial substances.

In the northern regions, figs come only dried, since fresh ones are easily spoiled at the slightest damage and therefore are difficult to transport. Many delicious dishes are prepared from fresh figs: compote, marmalade, pasta, jam.

Figs are usually not famous for longevity, their trees rarely live more than 100 years, but in India there is a unique fig tree, which is over 3000 years old.

Fig (Common fig)
Fig (Common fig)

© magbell

In the Crimea, the Caucasus and Central Asia, figs easily run wild, settling on scree, in the crevices of stone blocks and on granite rocks devoid of any vegetation. The roots of this tree easily penetrate the hardest soil, penetrate into the smallest crevices no worse than a steel drill, and strengthen in the most inaccessible places. In Adler, for example, two fig trees settled on the brick cornice of the local district executive committee, and a third even climbed the dome of the old church.

The fig culture is conquering new geographic areas, gradually moving further north. When cultured in cold zones, unfortunately, the blastophage does not always follow. She is very sensitive to heat and cannot stand even the cold of the North Caucasus. In such cases, they resort to the services of figs, which can do without their eternal companion. However, this type of fig (by the way, it is also suitable for indoor culture) loses its ability to produce seeds, it can only be propagated vegetatively - with green cuttings or layering.

It is curious that the wonderful fig tree is one of the close relatives of our indoor ficus and the distant relative of the mulberry tree - mulberry. Based on their relationship, scientists have spent a lot of work trying to cross the figs with the more frost-resistant mulberry. In California, Luther Burbank unsuccessfully fought over the implementation of this tempting idea. As is often the case, the humble naturalist-experimenter from the Crimea Ya. I. Bomyk managed to do this. In the harsh winter of 1949-1950 for Crimea, when frosts in Yalta reached 20 degrees and ordinary figs were almost completely frozen, the Bomyk hybrid survived. A successful, hardworking naturalist has high hopes for his new fig-silk hybrid black Bomyka-4. We still need to work long and hard for the wonderful fig tree to take a new step towards the north.

Fig (Common fig)
Fig (Common fig)

© Fanghong

Author: S. I. Ivchenko

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