A whisper from the woods

Ask me (almost) anything, August 2023

Aug 13, 2023

Someone from our global community asked Mark to tell them more about fig trees.

Our community member bought a fig tree from a local nursery in Germany, and wanted to understand how they can create the ideal circumstances for the tree to carry fruit and flourish.

The fig tree bought in Germany


Mark starts by helping us understand the origin of fig trees. He explains that the original fig trees (Ficus carica) are native to the ancient region of Caria (now the western Anatolian coastline of Turkiye/Turkey). The ancient Greeks are thought to have brought them to the Greek mainland from around 1000 BCE, and from there, they have been introduced to most regions of the Mediterranean.


Image 1: The Caria region as highlighted in red.


Concerning the different types of figs, Mark explains that there are 4 genetic lines of figs: Capri fig, Smyrna, San Pedro, and Common Fig.

Capri figs only produce male flowers and never bear fruit. Their only purpose is to pollinate female fig trees.

Smyrna figs bear all female flowers. They have to be pollinated by a Caprifig.

San Pedro figs bear two crops: one on leafless, mature wood that requires no pollination and one on new wood that requires pollination by a male flower.

Common figs are the type usually grown in home landscapes. They don’t need another tree for pollination. Figs that require pollination have an opening that allows the pollinating wasps entry to the internal flowers. Common figs don’t need an opening, so they are less susceptible to rot caused by insects and rainwater entering the fruit.


Image 2: An illustration of a Common Fig’s reproductive cycle


Mark invites us to have a look at this article, to learn more about figs.


Thank you for the very interesting article and for the opportunity to learn, Mark! We appreciate your time and your wisdom.

If you have a question for Mark, send him an email, or drop your question in the comment section below.

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Images sources:
Image 1: See here
Image 2: See here


Please share this. Thank you!


  1. Mrinalini Nigde

    Good information.

  2. John Douthitt

    The bodhi tree is a fig tree. Figs are the only plant which is said to “blossom internally.” All the flower parts are internal.


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