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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Ficus carica - Common Fig

Ficus carica - Common Fig

This is a small tree grows to 23 to 33 feet and up to 7 inches in diameter. The Fig Tree has a smooth grey bark. The fig tree leaves are bright green, alternate, simple and rather large. They are deeply lobed with 1 - 5 sinuses. They have rough hairs on the upper part of the leaf and soft hairs on the underside of the leaf.

The fig tree is thought to be native to Western Asia. It was introduced to Virginia around the 1700s. Thomas Jefferson had a fruit orchard where he planted many fig trees at Monticello. Monticello is in Charlottesville, Virginia, and you can read more at

The fig tree is referred to as the Tree of Life and Knowledge. The Bodhi tree, under which Buddha meditated, was a variety of the fig tree, a cutting of which is said to be in Ceylon.

The fruit of the fig tree is ready to eat twice a year, in the spring (in some parts of the world) and in the late summer or early fall. This fruit is actually the flower and seeds which grow together to make what is called the fig. Figs are one of best sources of calcium and fiber. Figs are also are rich in potassium and magnesium.
The beautiful, healthy fig tree pictured here lives in my friend, Heather's yard; she took me to see this tree where I photographed it. She was so gracious when she gave me some figs to eat.

The photo below is a picture of the figs she gave me. I took the figs to my daughter's studio where she helped me photograph them on Liz's beautiful red plate. Thank you Heather, Brooke, and Liz for this beautiful image of the figs.  By the way, they were delicious.  I highly recommend finding some fresh figs this summer and enjoy!!

I found a very interesting website that tracks the trees in San Francisco and reports the environmental impact the trees have on the environment. I found that there are nine fig trees reported on this website. Their impact is reported as follows:

817 pound reduction in carbon dioxide gas
7,451 gallons of water were conserved
1,039 kWH were conserved
and 2 pounds of air pollutants were conserved

Thank you to to the Urban Forest folks for reporting this. You can find more information at:

Here is a quote that seems appropriate:

"Never does nature say one thing, and wisdom another." Juvenal, Rome

Till next time,