Caprification


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Caprification

 

pollination of the flowers of the fig tree with the participation of small (up to 2.5 mm) fig wasps, the succession of whose generations in the course of a year is connected with the development of different forms of inflorescences.

Some fig plants have inflorescences, caprifigs, with male (staminate) flowers and female short-styled flowers; others, figs, have female long-styled flowers and under-developed male flowers. In the spring the fig wasp enters the ovarie of female short-styled flowers to deposit its eggs. The larvae that hatch from the eggs feed on the contents of the ovules and develop into adult insects who mate here. When the fertilized female flies out of the inflorescence, she becomes covered with pollen from the staminate flowers. Then, in searching for short-styled flowers into which to deposit her eggs (she cannot deposit eggs in long-styled flowers, because she has a short ovipositor), the female wasp crawls into inflorescences with female long-stemmed flowers and pollinates them. Normal achenes develop from the pollinated flowers, and the fleshy floral receptacle grows to form the fig.

In early spring in the subtropics, the fig develops inflores-cences, profichi (chiefly caprifigs), in which wasps emerging fromoverwintering inflorescences deposit their eggs. The summer in-florescences, mammoni (chiefly figs), develop in August; theflowers in these inflorescences are pollinated and fruits areformed. Autumn inflorescences, mamme, are sterile (caprifigs), and they appear at the end of September; the larvae of the figwasps hibernate in them.

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Wild populations in the northern Mediterranean today have approximately 1:1 ratios of caprifigs:figs and are readily pollinated, whereas in more easterly and southerly regions caprifigs are sparse, probably due to human clearing and land management, and caprification is required for the pollination of female trees (Kjellberg & Valdeyron 1984).
The varieties of fig that are grown in California today, such as the Adriatic or Mission fig, do not depend on caprification for their development.