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Uses

Toxic parts

The sap and the half-ripe fruits are said to be poisonous[1][2]. The sap can be a serious eye irritant[3].

Edible uses

Notes

Fruit - raw or cooked[4][5][5][6][7]. Sweet and succulent, a fully ripe specimen is an exquisite fruit that almost literally melts in the mouth[K]. The fruit is often dried for later use[8] and this dried fruit is a major item of commerce. Figs are usually pear-shaped and up to 5cm in diameter[9]. A nutritional analysis is available[10]. The latex from the sap can be used to coagulate plant milks[8].

Unknown part

Fruit

Material uses

Wood - pliable but porous and of little value[6][2]. It is used for hoops, garlands, ornaments etc[2]. When saturated with oil and covered with emery is used as a substitute for a hone[6].

There are no material uses listed for Ficus carica.

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

A decoction of the leaves is stomachic[10]. The leaves are also added to boiling water and used as a steam bath for painful or swollen piles[10]. The latex from the stems is used to treat corns, warts and piles[6][2][10]. It also has an analgesic effect against insect stings and bites[11]. The fruit is mildly laxative, demulcent, digestive and pectoral[6][11][10]. The unripe green fruits are cooked with other foods as a galactogogue and tonic[10]. The roasted fruit is emollient and used as a poultice in the treatment of gumboils, dental abscesses etc[6]. Syrup of figs, made from the fruit, is a well-known and effective gentle laxative that is also suitable for the young and very old[254, K]. A decoction of the young branches is an excellent pectoral[11]. The plant has anticancer properties[10].

Ecology

Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.

Forage

Nothing listed.

Shelter

Nothing listed.

Propagation

Seed - sow spring in a warm greenhouse. Prick out the seedlings as soon as they are large enough to handle and overwinter the young plants in a greenhouse for at least their first year. Plant out in late spring after the last expected frosts and give some protection for their first winter outdoors. Cuttings of mature wood 10 - 12cm with a heel, winter in a frame. Fairly easy, but the cuttings must be kept frost free. It is probably best if the cuttings are put in individual pots[12]. Layering.

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Ficus carica. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.



Cultivation

Requires a well-drained medium to light loam and some lime rubble incorporated into the soil[4]. Succeeds in dry soils. A heavy wet soil tends to encourage excessive plant growth at the expense of fruit production[4]. Prefers a very sunny position but tolerates part-day shade when grown on a warm wall[13]. Plants are hardy to about -15°c[13]. The top growth is susceptible to frost damage and can be killed back to the base in severe winters, though plants usually recover well[5]. Trees require the protection of a south or west facing wall in most parts of Britain if they are to produce a worthwhile crop[5][14], though free standing trees can succeed in Cornwall[15]. There is a small orchard of free-standing trees in Anthony garden near Plymouth. These were seen in July 1995 with a very heavy crop of ripening fruits that would have been ready by August[K]. Figs are very widely cultivated in warmer climes than Britain for their edible fruit, there are many named varieties[8]. 'Brown Turkey' is the cultivar most commonly grown in Britain and is probably the most suitable for this climate. 'White Ischia' is a dwarf cultivar (though it can still be 5 metres tall and wide) and is ideal for pot culture[3]. It produces an abundance of green-white thin-skinned fruits[3]. Up to three crops of fruit a year can be obtained in some countries[7]. When grown outdoors in Britain only one crop is usually obtained, though in exceptionally hot years two crops are sometimes produced. The fruit usually takes about 12 months to mature in Britain, baby fruits no larger than about 15mm long in the autumn usually overwinter to form the following years crop of fruit. If plants are grown in pots in a conservatory or cold greenhouse, two crops of fruit can be obtained, one in early summer and one in late summer to autumn[16]. Pinch back the new shoots to about six leaves in order to encourage the second crop[16]. It is a good idea to restrict the roots of fig trees on most soil types in order to discourage excessive vegetative growth at the expense of fruit production[5]. This can be done by root pruning, but it is easier to place some kind of permanent restriction around the roots - planting into a large tub that is then buried into the ground is one method. It is important to make sure that the tree still gets ample moisture, especially when the fruits are ripening.

Crops

Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Ficus carica. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Ficus carica.

Descendants

Cultivars

Varieties

None listed.

Subspecies

None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Taxonomy
Binomial name
Ficus carica
Genus
Ficus
Family
Moraceae
Imported References
Medicinal uses
Material uses & Functions
Botanic
Propagation
Cultivation
Environment
Cultivation
Uses
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Functions
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Environment
Hardiness Zone
7
Heat Zone
?
Water
moderate
Sun
full sun
Shade
no shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
  • Drought
Ecosystems
Native Climate Zones
None listed.
Adapted Climate Zones
None listed.
Native Geographical Range
None listed.
Native Environment
None listed.
Ecosystem Niche
None listed.
Root Zone Tendancy
None listed.
Life
Deciduous or Evergreen
Herbaceous or Woody
Life Cycle
Growth Rate
Mature Size
6 x 6 meters
Fertility
Pollinators
?
Flower Colour
?
Flower Type

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References

  1. ? Riotte. L. Companion Planting for Successful Gardening. Garden Way, Vermont, USA. ISBN 0-88266-064-0 (1978-01-01)
  2. ? 2.02.12.22.32.42.52.6 Polunin. O. and Huxley. A. Flowers of the Mediterranean. Hogarth Press ISBN 0-7012-0784-1 (1987-01-01)
  3. ? 3.03.13.2 Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-01-01)
  4. ? 4.04.14.24.3 F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-01-01)
  5. ? 5.05.15.25.35.45.5 Simmons. A. E. Growing Unusual Fruit. David and Charles ISBN 0-7153-5531-7 (1972-01-01)
  6. ? 6.06.16.26.36.46.56.66.76.8 Grieve. A Modern Herbal. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-440-9 (1984-01-01)
  7. ? 7.07.17.2 Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants. Weinheim (1959-01-01)
  8. ? 8.08.18.28.3 Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-01-01)
  9. ? 9.09.19.2 Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-01-01)
  10. ? 10.010.110.210.310.410.510.610.710.8 Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S. Medicinal Plants of China Reference Publications, Inc. ISBN 0-917256-20-4 (1985-01-01)
  11. ? 11.011.111.211.3 Chiej. R. Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants. MacDonald ISBN 0-356-10541-5 (1984-01-01)
  12. ? Sheat. W. G. Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers. MacMillan and Co (1948-01-01)
  13. ? 13.013.1 Davis. B. Climbers and Wall Shrubs. Viking. ISBN 0-670-82929-3 (1990-01-01)
  14. ? Grey-Wilson. C. & Matthews. V. Gardening on Walls Collins ISBN 0-00-219220-0 (1983-01-01)
  15. ? Thurston. Trees and Shrubs in Cornwall. ()
  16. ? 16.016.1 Phillips. R. & Rix. M. Conservatory and Indoor Plants Volumes 1 & 2 Pan Books, London. ISBN 0-330-37376-5 (1998-01-01)
  17. ? Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named PFAFimport-17