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fig, name for members of the genus Ficus of the family Moraceae (mulberry family). This large genus contains some 800 species of widely varied tropical vines (some of which are epiphytic); shrubs; and trees, including the banyan, the peepul, or bo tree, and the India-rubber tree. It differs from other genera of the family in that the hundreds of tiny female flowers are borne on the inside of a syconium, a fleshy fruitlike receptacle with a small opening at the apex. The common fig (F. carica), a native of the Mediterranean area, has been bred and cultivated from early times for its commercially valuable fruit and has been naturalized in other parts of the world that have a mild, semiarid climate; in the United States, figs are grown in California, Texas, Utah, Oregon, and Washington. Some edible varieties (e.g., the Smyrna, among the best) can be pollinated only by the fig wasp (Blastophaga), which passes its larval stage inside the inedible fruit of a wild variety called the caprifig. In order to produce mature fruit, the cultivated variety is subjected to a process called caprification; flowering branches of caprifig are hung in the tree so that the emerging wasps will transfer caprifig pollen to the edible fig. After entering the receptacle and laying its eggs, the wasp dies and its body and eggs are absorbed by the developing fruit; only the eggs laid inside the caprifig fruit survive. Other edible varieties (e.g., the Adriatic or mission fig) bear larger fruits when caprificated. The ripe fruit (called a synconium) contains masses of tiny seeds and is soft and pear-shaped; it may be greenish, yellow to orange, or purple in color. The name fig is also applied to various unrelated plants that either resemble the fig tree or bear figlike fruits. Figs are classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Urticales, family Moraceae.
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Some tropical primates live on a diet of over 80% figs. Roman champions ate figs. Figs are a densely mineralized sweet fruit and contain one of the highest concentrations of calcium of any food. Fig trees are great to have because they don't take a lot of space and they don't get diseases or insects. A very no-care plant. Originally from the mediterranean area, they grow well almost anywhere in the world, even in places where it snows, as long as they are kept out of the cold north winds. They are high in protein, seriously high in fiber, highly alkalizing. Coffee substitute, helps quit smoking, aids fertility, good for bodybuilding. Figs are ready to eat when they don't have the white milky sap inside them anymore and the insides start turning darker. You can eat figs fresh off the tree, or dry them, freeze them, use them as sweeteners in salads, smoothies, sandwiches etc. Do NOT eat them unripe while they still have white milky sap (latex). No visible flowers
Edible Plant Guide © 2012 Markus Rothkranz
What does it mean when you dream about a fig?
Figs and fig trees are associated with sex and eroticism. This is partially because of our culture’s images of Adam and Eve, who are often pictured in fig leaves following their act of sin.
The Dream Encyclopedia, Second Edition © 2009 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.
Ficus carica. A deciduous tree of the family Moraceae cultivated for its edible fruit, which is a syconium, consisting of a fleshy hollow receptacle lined with pistillate flowers.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
1. any moraceous tree or shrub of the tropical and subtropical genus Ficus, in which the flowers are borne inside a pear-shaped receptacle
2. the fruit of any of these trees, esp of F. carica, which develops from the receptacle and has sweet flesh containing numerous seedlike structures
3. any of various plants or trees having a fruit similar to this
4. Hottentot or sour fig a succulent plant, Mesembryanthemum edule, of southern Africa, having a capsular fruit containing edible pulp: family Aizoaceae
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005