FigsPosted 9 years ago under Uncategorized
Once valued as a sacred fruit in Rome, figs have been cultivated for thousands of years. They are known to have phenomenal nutritional value. Figs help your heart by cutting down on calcium deposits in blood vessels and can help lower triglyceride levels. The fiber content can also help stabilize your blood sugar as well as help with the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and other intestinal problems. (1)
Figs come from the Ficus carica tree.
Kingdom (Plantae) → Angiosperms → Eudicots → Rosids → Order (Rosales) → Family (Moraceae) → Tribe (Ficeae) → Genus (Ficus) → Subgenus (Ficus) → Species (Ficus carica)
Figs grow on a small, deciduous tree that range in height from ten to thirty feet tall. The leaves can grow to the size of an adult’s hand and are separated into three to five large lobes. Flowers are not actually visible as the plant grows syconiums that are lined with multiple flowers (male flowers that contain the pollen and female flowers that contain the seeds) on the inside. These syconiums resemble fleshy stems that are urn or bulbous shaped. The figs are pollinated by a wasp species that goes inside the syconiums and pollinates the flowers. As the flowers mature and produce tiny druplets inside, the syconium is transformed into the edible fig. (2)
Figs originated from the Middle East and western Asia but can be grown in just about any temperate climate. Though they thrive in areas with long summers and well-drained and deep soils, they can grow in a variety of environments, including ones with colder winters. The biggest producers of figs are Turkey, Greece, Spain, Portugal, and California. (3)
Figs are high in many important vitamins and minerals as well as dietary fiber. They contain B vitamins, calcium, magnesium, iron, manganese, potassium, and vitamin K2. They are also high in antioxidants such as phenols. (4) The high sugar content in dried figs does mean that those with diabetes or are pre-diabetic should consider eating the fig leaves instead of the fruit as they have antidiabetic properties. (5)
Typically, figs are grown using cuttings. Since they ripen on the tree, fresh figs only last a couple of days once picked. If they are dried, they can be stored for six to eight months. Although figs can produce two crops a year (one in early summer and one in early fall), the later crop is usually the only commercially viable one though some varieties can produce a decent crop in spring. (6)
Diseases, Pests, Predators
Figs do not suffer from many diseases or pests. Ants can be a problem as they are attracted to the fruits but controlling for them by spreading wood ashes around the tree can avoid problems. (7) Some viruses and bacteria can cause diseases, though rarely. These include the mosaic virus, fig canker, and rhyzopus smut.