The Surprising Facts about Figs

 

A young common Black Mission fig

 

People either love or hate figs.  Figs were grown long before wheat became a crop.  They are members of the Ficus family, which includes such spectacular specimens as the famous Banyan tree that grows enormous roots and support trunks from air roots.  The fig tree, and members of the ficus family such as the Bodhi tree, are mentioned in all three major religious texts.

However, figs are not fruit.  Nope.

Figs are swollen, fleshy stems called syconiums.

Figs are swollen stems.

 

A fig is actually a swollen, hollow stem that has internal flowers!

 

The insides of figs show the flowers

 

 

When the flowers are ready for pollination, the end of the stem opens slightly to allow in the fig wasp, its only pollinator.

 

The end opens.

 

 

The syconium will then set seed inside, which is the time when they are usually harvested.  Happily for fig eaters, many fig types are self-pollinating. Now you can amaze your friends and family with this interesting trivia over the dinner table!

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