Fig - Ficus carica L.
Fresh figs cut open showing the flesh and seeds inside
Fig. 1
Fresh figs cut open showing the flesh and seeds inside

Edible fig (Ficus carica) L
Fig. 2
Edible fig Ficus carica L

Ficus carica leaf in Giardino dei Semplici di Firenze
Fig. 3
Ficus carica leaf in Giardino dei Semplici di Firenze

Ficus carica
Fig. 4
Ficus carica L

Ficus carica, Moraceae, Common Fig, developing inflorescence (left), buds (middle, right); Karlsruhe, Germany
Fig. 7
Ficus carica, Moraceae, Common Fig, developing inflorescence (left), buds (middle, right); Karlsruhe, Germany

Figs in various stages of ripening on a branch, grown in Croatia
Fig. 8
Figs in various stages of ripening on a branch, grown in Croatia

Ficus carica Family Moraceae
Fig. 9
Fruit habit

Ficus carica
Fig. 26

Smooth pale gray bark
Fig. 27

Fig. 28
Scientific name
Ficus carica L.
Common names
Fig, common fig, or edible fig; French (figue); German (feige); Italian and Portuguese (figo); Spanish it is higo or brevo; Haitians give it the name, figue France, to distinguish it from the small, dried bananas called "figs" 3
Ficus carica var. afghanica Popov; F. carica var. caprificus Risso; F. carica var. domestica Czern. & Rav.; F. carica var. globosa Hausskn.; F. carica var. johannis (Boiss.) Hausskn.; F. carica var. longipes Bornm. ex Parsa; F. carica var. riparium Hausskn.; F. carica var. rupestris Hausskn.; F. carica subsp. rupestris (Hausskn.) Browicz 6
Cluster fig (Ficus racemosa), Sycomore Fig (Ficus sycomorus)
Asia Minor and the Mediterranean region 1
USDA hardiness zones
Fruit; landscape value
In Florida, because of cold injury, seldom reach 25 ft (7.6 m)
Low, spreading tree 12 ft  X 12 ft (3.7 x 3.7 m)
Plant habit
Spreading with low canopy; rounded umbrella of vase shape 8
Growth rate
50 to 150 years 8
Smooth light gray bark; multiple-branched shrubs 1
Pruning requirement
Fig trees do not require pruning to be productive 1
Large, thick, single and alternate; deeply lobed; deciduous
Minute, unisexual, bearing either stamens or pistils
Pear-shaped, hollow, fleshy, 1-3 in. (2.5-7.6 cm), green, yellow, pink, violet, brown and black
Late summer, early fall
USDA Nutrient Content Dry pdf
USDA Nutrient Content Raw pdf
Light requirement
Full sun all day
Soil tolerances
Tolerant of most soils
PH preference
Drought tolerance
Drought-stressed trees are more susceptible to nematodes and will not fruit well 1
Soil salt tolerance
Cold tolerance
Hardy to 15-20 °F (-9.44-6.67 °C)
Fig trees produce roots that can be very deep in well drained soils. The lateral spread of roots can be substantial 1
Invasive potential *
None reported
Pest resistance
Problems with birds, fig rust and nematodes in sandy soils
Known hazard
When branches are cut or damaged, they produce copious quantities of a milky latex that can be a skin irritant 1

Reading Material

The Fig from the University of Florida pdf 5 pages
Fig from Julia Morton's book Fruits of Warm Climates
Fig from Mediterranean Fruits By Joan Tous and Louise Ferguson
Fig from the California Rare Fruit Growers Inc.
Figs from Aggie Horticulture®, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension pdf 5 pages


The fig originated in the Old World Tropics, Asia Minor and the Mediterranean region. In the Mediterranean, the fig has been cultivated since as early as 5,000 BC. The fig tree was first introduced to the Americas in 1575 by Spanish explorers in Florida. On the West Coast, in the area that eventually became the State of California, Spanish Franciscan missionaries introduced the cultivar, Mission, to the area that, in 1769, became the mission San Diego. 1

The fig is one of the most popular and desirable fruits of warm-temperate areas. It succeeds in every region of Florida, from Pensacola to Homestead. Once it is established, the fig requires little mantenance, although it may be troubled by nematodes when planted in sandy soil. The tree is handsome and well behaved. Some cultivars produce 2 crops a year. In light of its many attributes, the fig should be used with great frequency in the home landscape. 4

Fig leaves are large (up to 1 foot long), thick, colored a bright dark green, single and alternate. These leaves are deeply lobed with usually three to five sinuses. Leaves contain trichomes (pubescence), which is particularly rough on the adaxial (upper) leaf surface. Leaf pubescence can also be an irritant to the skin. 1

Ficus carica L. (cultivado)Ficus carica L. (cultivado)
Fig. 5 Fig. 6

Fig. 3,4. Ficus carica L. (cultivado)


Flowers are minute, unisexual, bearing either stamens or pistils, depending upon the type of fig. Flowers are borne in leaf axils. Common figs are all female and do not require pollination. 1

What is commonly accepted as a "fruit" is technically a synconium, that is, a fleshy, hollow receptacle with a small opening at the apex partly closed by small scales. It may be obovoid, turbinate, or pear-shaped, 1 to 4 in (2.5-10 cm) long, and varies in color from yellowish-green to coppery, bronze, or dark-purple. 3
The unfertilized ovaries provide the resin-like flavor associated with fruit of fig. Fruit can contain a closed or an open ostiole or eye located at the fruit apex. 1

Ficus carica L.Leaves and immature fruitFicus carica, unripe fruit
Fig. 10 Fig. 11 Fig. 12
Ficus caricaicus caricaFicus carica L. cross sectionOpen Fig fruit held in hand
Fig. 13 Fig. 14 Fig. 15 Fig. 16

Fig. 10. Leaves and immature fruit
Fig. 12. Ficus carica L., unripe fruit
Fig. 15. Ficus carica L. cross section

Types of Figs
There are four types of figs—Caprifigs, Smyrna, San Pedro, and common types, which are recommended for Florida. Caprifigs produce staminate (male) flowers and are useful only as a source of pollen. Smyrna bears only pistillate (female) flowers and requires a caprifig for pollination. San Pedro has pistillate flowers and bears two crops, one on leafless wood requiring no pollination and the other borne on new wood that requires pollination. 1

Fig cultivars recommended for Florida belong to the common types of fig and are parthenocarpic; fruit develop without pollination. Smryna and San Pedro types will not bear fruit in Florida because of the absence of Caprifigs and a wasp pollenizer (Blastophaga psenes). Because the common types of fig do not require a wasp pollinizer, the best cultivars have a closed ostiole to minimize rotting by preventing the occurrence of insects or rain water inside the fruit. Brown Turkey and Celeste are common cultivars that are reported to be more cold hardy than many other fig cultivars. 1

Varieties Page
Choosing the Right Fig Variety from Just Fruits and Exotics Nursery

Figs ripen on the tree and don't ship well, so the best way to truly enjoy a fresh fig is from your local market, or better yet, your own fig tree. Luckily, Florida offers the right growing conditions and figs are fairly easy to grow in north and central Florida. 5
The fruit is deemed mature when it droops slightly and separates easily from the branch. 4

Fig trees are usually propagated by using dormant cuttings. Fig trees are rarely propagated by chip or patch budding or by whip, side, inlay or cleft grafting. 1

Edible fig is a deciduous plant that requires about 100 hours of chilling temperatures to grow and set fruit. 5

In Florida, bare-rooted fig plants can be planted during the dormant season, from December to late February. Container-grown plants can be planted any time of the year provided they receive irrigation. 1

The fruit is borne on terminals of wood from the previous year. Thus, the amount of pruning should be minimal. 1

Fig Traning in Other Countries

The general consensus is that fig trees typically require light fertilization. Excess fertilization can promote excessive vegetative growth and low yield. If the total amount of vegetative growth is less than one The Fig 3 foot in length, then it is appropriate to apply fertilizer. 1

Irrigation is required for fig trees during the establishment year. During that period, a fig tree should receive 10 gallons per application at least three times a week. Irrigation after the establishment year is optional except during a prolonged drought. 1

Although many diseases attack figs, most figs are grown in homeowner settings and do not receive pesticide sprays. The most common insect pests are mealy bug, three-lined fig borer and ants. The application of insecticide is seldom warranted. Please contact your local UF/IFAS Extension agent for spray recommendations. 1

Disease Page

Food Uses
Some people peel the skin back from the stem end to expose the flesh for eating out of-hand. The more fastidious eater holds the fruit by the stem end, cuts the fruit into quarters from the apex, spreads the sections apart and lifts the flesh from the skin with a knife blade, discarding the stem and skin. 3
In warm, humid climates, figs are generally eaten fresh and raw without peeling, and they are often served with cream and sugar. Peeled or unpeeled, the fruits may be merely stewed or cooked in various ways, as in pies, puddings, cakes, bread or other bakery products, or added to ice cream mix. Home owners preserve the whole fruits in sugar sirup or prepare them as jam, marmalade, or paste. 3

Italian dried figs in balsamic vinegarFig cakeGreek figs in syrupFig juice from Taiwan
Fig. 17 Fig. 18 Fig. 19 Fig. 20
"Schiocca": calabrian dried figsDried figs"Fichetti" (fig pastry), shot in Syracuse, Sicily.
Fig. 21 Fig. 22 Fig. 23
Fresh Figs sold in Tokyo
Fig. 24

Fig. 17. Italian dried figs in balsamic vinegar
Fig. 18. Fig cake
Fig. 19. Greek figs in syrup
Fig. 20. Fig juice from Taiwan
Fig. 21. "Schiocca": calabrian dried figs
Fig. 22. Dried figs
Fig. 23. "Fichetti" (fig pastry), shot in Syracuse, Sicily
Fig. 24. Fresh Figs sold in Tokyo

Medicinal Uses **
The latex is widely applied on warts, skin ulcers and sores, and taken as a purgative and vermifuge, but with considerable risk. In Latin America, figs are much employed as folk remedies. A decoction of the fruits is gargled to relieve sore throat; figs boiled in milk are repeatedly packed against swollen gums; the fruits are much used as poultices on tumors and other abnormal growths. The leaf decoction is taken as a remedy for diabetes and calcifications in the kidneys and liver. Fresh and dried figs have long been appreciated for their laxative action. 3

Other Uses
In southern France, there is some use of fig leaves as a source of perfume material called "fig-leaf absolute" a dark-green to brownish-green, semi-solid mass or thick liquid of herbaceous-woody-mossy odor, employed in creating woodland scents. 3
The latex contains caoutchouc (2.4%), resin, albumin, cerin, sugar and malic acid, rennin, proteolytic enzymes, diastase, esterase, lipase, catalase, and peroxidase. It is collected at its peak of activity in early morning, dried and powdered for use in coagulating milk to make cheese and junket. From it can be isolated the protein-digesting enzyme ficin which is used for tenderizing meat, rendering fat, and clarifying beverages. 3


Fig Distribution Range
Fig. 25

Fig. 25. Fig Distribution Range

Further Reading
The Fig from the Twelve Fruits With Potential Value-Added and Culinary Uses Project
Fig, Ficus carica from Fruitipedia, Encyclopedia of the Edible Fruits of the World
Fig Botanical Art

List of Growers and Vendors


1 Andersen, Peter C. and Crocker, Timothy E. "The Fig". This document is HS27, one of a series of the Horticultural Sciences Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Original publication date Mar. 1994. Revised Nov. 2009 and June 2016 Web. 4 Mar. 2017.
2 "Common Fig." Web. 4 Dec. 2014.
3 Morton, J. "Fig." Fruits of Warm Climates, p. 47-50. 1987. Web. 4 Mar. 2017.
4 Boning, Charles R. Florida's Best Fruiting Plants. Sarasota: Pineapple Press, Inc. 2006. Print.
5 "Figs." Web. 4 Mar. 2017.
6 " Ficus carica L. synonyms." The Plant List (2010). Version 1. Web. 5 Mar. 2017.
7 Parmar, Chiranjit. "Fig, Ficus carica." Encyclopedia of the Edible Fruits of the World. Original May 2008, Revised 2013. Web. 8 Mar. 2017.
8 SelecTree. "Ficus carica Tree Record." 1995-2017. Web. 9 Mar. 2017.


Fig. 1 Hunt, Eric. Fresh figs cut open showing the flesh and seeds inside. 2005. Under (CC BY-SA 2.5). Web. 6 Mar. 2017.
Fig. 2 Hamann, Jonas Janner. Edible fig Ficus carica L. 2013. Under (CC BY 3.0 US). Updated 2016. Web. 5 Mar. 2017.
Fig. 3 Liné1. Ficus carica leaf in Giardino dei Semplici di Firenze. 2007. Under (CC BY-SA 3.0) and GNU Free Documentation License, Version.  1.2. Web. 6 Mar. 2017.
Fig. 4,10 Carr, Gerald D. Ficus carica Moracaea. N.d. University of Hawaii, Botany Department, Manoa Campus Plants.  Web. 6 Mar. 2017.
Fig. 5,6,13 Aguilar, Reinaldo. Ficus carica L. (cultivado). 2012. Vascular Plants of the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica. Under (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0). Web. 7 Mar. 2017.
Fig. 7 Zell, H. Ficus carica, Moraceae, Common Fig, developing inflorescence (left), buds (middle, right); Karlsruhe, Germany. 2010. Under (CC BY-SA 3.0). Web. 6 Mar. 2017.
Fig. 8 Silverije. Figs in various stages of ripening on a branch, grown in Croatia. 2016. Under (CC BY-SA 4.0). Web. 6 Mar. 2017.
Fig. 9 Stueber, Kurt. Ficus carica Family Moraceae. 2007. Under (CC BY-SA 3.0) and GNU Free Documentation License, Version.  1.2. Web. 6 Mar. 2017.
Fig. 11 Woodlot at English Wikipedia. Leaves and immature fruit. 2010. Under (CC BY 3.0). Web. 6 Mar. 2017.
Fig. 12 Stueber, Kurt. Ficus carica, unripe fruit. Family Moraceae. 2004. Under (CC BY-SA 3.0) and GNU Free Documentation License, Version. 1.2. Web. 6 Mar. 2017.
Fig. 14 Bff. Ficus carica. 2010. Under (CC BY-SA 4.0). Web. 6 Mar. 2017.
Fig. 15 Zenz, Rainer. Ficus carica: cross section of fruit. 2004. German Wikipedia Project. Public Domain. Web. 6 Mar. 2017.
Fig. 16 Yosarian. Open Fig fruit held in hand. 2008. Under (CC BY-SA 3.0). Web. 6 Mar. 2017.
Fig. 17 Love, Ken. Italian dried figs in balsamic vinegar. 2008. Web. 4 Mar. 2017.
Fig. 18,19,20 Love, Ken. European Value Added Fig Products. 2007. Web. 4 Mar. 2017.
Fig. 21 Marcuscalabresus. "Schiocca": calabrian dried figs. 2011. Under (CC BY 3.0 US). Web. 6 Mar. 2017.
Fig. 22 Deathworm. Dried Figs. Public Domain. Web. 6 Mar. 2017.
Fig. 23 Dall'Orto, Giovanni. "Fichetti" (fig pastry), shot in Syracuse, Sicily. 2008. Web. 6 Mar. 2017.
Fig. 24 Love, Ken. Fresh Figs sold in Tokyo. 2004. Web. 4 Mar. 2017.
Fig. 25 Ficus carica L., common fig distribution range. N.d. Atlas of Florida Vascular Plants. Institute for Systematic Botany, University of South Florida, Tampa. Web. 5 Mar. 2017.
Fig. 26,27,28 Ritter, M., Mark, W. and Reimer, J. Selectree. Ficus carica Tree Record.  N.d. National Arboretum - Washington, DC and San Luis Obispo, CA. 1995-2017. Web. 9 Mar. 2017.

UF/IFAS Assessment of Non-native Plants in Florida's Natural Areas
** Information provided is not intended to be used as a guide for treatment of medical conditions.

Published 8 Mar. 2017 LR. Last update 9 Jan. 2018 LR
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