The fig tree (Ficus carica L. Moraceae) may have originated in western Asia and distributed throughout the Mediterranean. Excavations indicate remains of these deciduous trees traced back at least to 5,000 B.C. Over 700 varietal names of fig trees exist, but many names are synonyms.
In spring, the common fig bears a breba or first crop based on last year's growth. The main crop develops from the tree's new growth. The fig tree contains a milky latex sap that irritates human skin.
Black Mission Fig Tree
Spanish missionaries brought the Black Mission Fig Tree from Balearic Island, Spain to the U.S. Over a hundred years ago, a hybrid grew near a California monastery. This all-round variety has adapted to the south, north, coast and interior U.S. This very large tree requires maximum spacing.
Clusters of fruit ripen to a bright purple colour from summer to fall and emit a sweet aroma. The elongated, medium to large pear-shaped figs contain flesh of a strawberry pinkish colour with a good taste.
Brown Turkey Fig Tree
The prolific Brown Turkey Fig Tree originated in Provence, France. This cultivar grows well in California and Hawaii. Mature height and width reaches 15 to 25 feet. This hardy, vigorous tree adapts to different soil conditions, grows in full or partial sun, and tolerates moderate drought.
The large, lobed leaves make for a suitable privacy screen. A small early or breba crop contrasts to the large main crop that begins in mid-July. The medium to large copper-coloured figs contain a pulp with whitish to strawberry-pink flesh of good to very good quality.
Celeste Fig Tree
The Celeste Fig Tree, also known as the "Sugar Fig," is a cold hardy variety that tolerates poorly drained and infertile soils. The small to medium pear-shaped fruit offers a rich flavour in its whitish to strawberry pink flesh. The ribbed fig with a purplish-brown or bronze skin may have a short neck and slim stalk. A large and heavy crop ripens in June.
Kadota Fig Tree
The Kadota Fig Tree originated in southwest Asia. Mature height and spread reaches 15 to 25 feet. This fast growing, upright tree thrives in well-drained soil in a hot, dry climate. Prune annually to slow growth. Yellowish-green, medium-sized figs ripen in August. The amber flesh with pink at the centre offers an excellent taste eaten fresh. This variety is a commercial fig for Fig Newtons.
Peter's Honey Fig Tree
Peter's Honey Fig Tree originated in Sicily. As an attractive garden tree, this variety grows well in a pot on a porch or patio. Mature height and width of this moderate grower reaches 15 to 20 feet. This variety needs full sun exposure. The bright yellowish-green, medium fig contains a sweet, crimson flesh with a sweet aroma.