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Video: Fig - Ficus Carica - Thermophilic Plant For Growing In Tubs
Figs are an amazing thermophilic crop that can be grown in tubs and in colder regions
My acquaintance with an amazing plant - figs - happened in winter. Each time passing by this tree, I admired its graceful trunk of light gray color with beautifully curved flexible branches, which, swaying in the gusts of wind, greeted me.
With the onset of spring, the tree was covered with a tent of large dark green leaves, similar to an open palm with carved edges. In the axils of the leaves, without flowering, fruit ovaries appeared, similar to small sacs, which became delicious fig fruits in June.
It was a fig tree, so decorative that it did not lose its beauty even next to the oleander bushes, with its bright, elegant flowers and sophisticated silvery olive trees.
I have been admiring my tree for nine years now, it is practically not required to care for it, it has never got sick over the years, and has not been affected by parasites, It does not need special watering, because the hotter and drier the summer, the tastier and sweeter the fruits will be. Every year the tree becomes more and more beautiful. And not only in the summer, when it gives coolness in the heat, but also in the winter months. Shedding foliage, it turns into a beautiful statue that adorns the garden until spring. And the aromatic jam made from its fruits reminds of the summer months and the unforgettable taste of the fruits, having tasted which, you immediately feel the atmosphere of exoticism, the atmosphere of the Mediterranean.
History of culture and legends about it
There is evidence that figs were known in the Mediterranean for eleven centuries ago, and as a rare, beautiful plant adorned the gardens of wealthy Babylonians, although, according to ancient scriptures, even Adam and Eve covered their nakedness with fig leaves.
The ancient Egyptians believed that the Sun God was born every day from this sacred tree, and, according to Roman legend, the she-wolf fed Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, in the shade of a fig tree. The babies were saved due to the fact that the basket in which they were lying was not carried away by the stormy waters of the Tiber River - it was held back by the branches of a fig tree that grew near the shore. Only in Egypt was Ficus sycomorus known, and in Rome - Ficus ruminalis.
In ancient Greece, the fruits of figs, due to their taste and usefulness, were necessarily present in the diet of philosophers and orators. And today, figs throughout the world remain a symbol of abundance and fertility. A basket of figs presented to someone means a wish of prosperity and well-being.
In Italy, for Christmas, when preparing gifts, they will definitely add packaging with dried figs to them.
A bit of botany
Fig - Ficus carica (L.) - fig tree, or as it is also called - fig tree, wine berry (in Italy it is called fico) - belongs to the mulberry family (Mogaseae).
It is widespread in the Mediterranean countries; on the territory of the former USSR, it grows in the south of the Crimea, in the Transcaucasus, in the southern regions of Central Asia.
This is mainly the Carian ficus (Ficus carica). It got its name from the name of the mountainous region of ancient Caria, the province of Asia Minor, which is considered the birthplace of figs.
Fig is a subtropical deciduous, tree-like or bushy plant.
The tree has a wide spreading crown with beautifully curved branches, the trunk is covered with grayish bark. It has very large leaves. The upper surface of the leaf is darker, the lower one is lighter, seemingly rough due to small hairs. All parts of the plant contain caustic milky sap. The fig tree grown for its fruit is Ficus carica sativa, this species, in turn, has countless varieties. But the Ficus carica caprificus growing in the wild is only decorative.
Among the numerous varieties of figs, there are trees that bear fruit both once a year and twice. On varieties that bear fruit twice a season, in the fall, both ripe fruits and very small fruits - buds - are on the branches at the same time, which, after overwintering, begin to grow in spring and ripen in late May - June. They are called figs - flowers. They are less tasty and sweet than figs ripening in autumn, but much larger than autumn fruits. The varieties of trees that bear fruit once a year have early, middle and late ripening dates for figs.
Like all ficuses, figs are two-domain, i.e. male and female flowers are located on different plants. He has a unique flowering type in the plant world. In the capryphiges (inside) there are short staminate flowers that form pollen, and in the figs there are long-styled flowers. Very interesting is the pollination of figs, which can only be performed by small wasps, blastophages (Blastophara grossorum), living in capryphigus. Getting into female fruit stems through a hole at the top, they transfer pollen on their bodies to the stigmas of female flowers. Pollinated flowers set fruits, and their syconiums, growing, form edible pear-shaped fruits. Male formations (capryphigs), which are smaller in size, remain solid and fall from the tree.
In this regard, the yield of wild plants and the first varieties of figs strongly depended on the number of this wasp. As a result of the work of breeders, now all modern varieties of figs are self-fertile and do not require blastophage pollination.
Figs are yellow to black-blue in color, depending on the variety. Yellow-green fruits are more common. They resemble a walnut-sized pear in shape, but the fruits of some varieties reach 6-8 cm, for example, the Follacciano variety. The root system of the plant is powerful, the skeletal roots are densely covered with overgrown roots. The trees are very drought-resistant, withstand temperature drops in winter to -12 … 15 ° C. Some varieties can withstand lowering even down to -20 ° C. Plants are easily regenerated by root shoots or spinning shoots from dormant buds below the frost sites.
The fig tree is very unpretentious, it grows on almost any type of soil, on open slopes, rocks, talus, even on the ruins of buildings. He prefers calcareous, loose, well-drained soils, as well as sandy, rocky. The only condition is that the soil should not be wet.
Figs do not require fertilization, as they require almost no nutrients, and can grow even in very depleted, poor soils.
This tree perfectly coexists in gardens with other trees, since, with the exception of rare cases, it is not affected by parasites and diseases.
A mature tree does not need any special pruning. Prune only if damaged or dried branches need to be removed. At the same time, the tree easily and painlessly tolerates pruning, so it can be given any desired shape.
Figs are propagated by cuttings, seeds, root suckers.
Figs are like sacs covered with a thin peel, which, easily separating, reveals the sweet, jelly-like pulp they contain with many small seeds. They have a very peculiar, unique taste. Figs are harvested from each tree in several steps, selectively, only ripe fruits, like many centuries ago, by hand, so as not to damage the delicate skin. Unripe fruits are left on the tree until ripening, as they contain milk, which makes them inedible.
One little secret, which, of course, every inhabitant of the Mediterranean knows - figs should only be picked in the morning, in clothes with long sleeves, because under the rays of the sun the hairs on the leaves of this tree secrete a substance that causes itching and an unpleasant burning sensation on the skin. …
The fruits of this amazing tree can be eaten fresh, you can make delicious jam or dry them in the sun.
The Italians taught me how to do this: cut the fruits in half, put the rugs together, put them on wooden baking sheets and take them out in the sun during the day. At night, they are brought into the room - and so on until they are completely dry. Delicious dried fruits on winter evenings remind me of a beautiful and amazing tree and a sultry summer past.
The number of fig varieties grown in Italy is so numerous that it is impossible to give an exact figure. They also differ in color: this is the so-called white fig, which has a skin from green to yellow, and black figs with a skin from red-brown to purple. Varieties are also divided into varieties Brigotto (black and white), Cantano, Marchesano, Troyansky, which are used only fresh, and varieties Dottato, Cilento in dried form, as well as varieties that have universal use.
Variety Brigotto (black) - has medium-sized fruits with pale pink pulp, ripening in September. The same variety with white fruits is also widespread.
Gentile requires pollination, its fruits are large, have a light green rind and a pale pink flesh. It bears fruit twice a year, the first time in late June - early July and the second time in September.
Verdine is a small fruit, but it has excellent taste, light skin and pink flesh, ripening in September.
Callera has large fruits, covered with a reddish peel with pink flesh. It bears fruit twice a year, in June and September.
Nowadays, interest and love for this extraordinary tree not only does not disappear, but, on the contrary, its popularity is growing. Especially for varieties of national selection, such as the Follacciano variety, its fruits are uniquely tasty, very sweet. It comes in both white and black. Ripe fruits, pear-shaped, have a size of 6 to 8 cm
In the photo you can see Giovachino Cingaretti, he is a builder by profession, he is holding Follacciano figs. In his garden, fig trees were planted by his great-grandfather, that is, they are more than 100 years old, and every year they give a bountiful harvest. All care for them is to plow the land between the trees in the spring and cut off the broken and dried branches.
The Dottato variety is the most common in Italy, as is the Cilento. This variety is used to prepare the world famous dried figs - the white Cilento figs.
Fig as a houseplant
For indoor culture, parthenocarpic forms are used, which form infertility without fertilization (“parthenos” in Greek means “virgin”, and “karpos” means fruit). This allows you to get tasty fruits in room conditions. To do this, it is necessary to plant trees in wide and deep vases so that a sufficiently well-developed root apparatus of the plant can be placed in them. The unpretentiousness, drought resistance of figs allows any gardener to have this wonderful tree in his home.
The usefulness of this fruit for the human body can hardly be overestimated. It contains many vitamins, organic acids and substances that help to improve the functioning of the intestines and the whole organism as a whole; useful for problems with the cardiovascular system, palpitations, anemia, bronchial asthma. It is highly nutritious, quenches thirst and soothes heat in the body. It helps to cleanse the body in the best way, as it acts on the body as a diuretic, mild laxative, diaphoretic, and also an anti-inflammatory agent.
This sweet and nutritious fruit provides a huge amount of energy due to its high sugar content, which is easily and quickly absorbed by the body, and a large amount of vitamins and minerals. In addition to vitamin A, fruits contain potassium, magnesium, iron and calcium, so its use helps to strengthen bones and teeth, improves vision, skin condition and strengthens the immune system. The uniqueness of figs is also in the fact that the soluble fibers of its fiber contain substances that reduce blood cholesterol levels.
Figs are also used in the so-called "folk medicine". For example, "milk" is used to remove corns and warts. For this, small amounts of milky juice must be applied to these places.
The pulp of the fruit is recommended to be applied as a lotion for abscesses.
A decoction made from dried fruits helps well with coughs, with inflammation of the skin, they lubricate sore spots.
However, the popular opinion that the "milk" secreted by leaves and fruits contributes to a beautiful tan is mistaken; except for burning and unpleasant sensations, it does not give any other effects.
True, there is one small "but": those who suffer from increased weight are advised to consume figs in limited quantities.
Fresh figs, due to their unusual, delicate, mild taste, are used as an appetizer, as a seasoning for meat dishes and even as a side dish.
This plant not only produces delicious fruits, it also decorates the garden. Therefore, it is not surprising that the fig tree in Italy grows in almost every garden, on balconies and terraces.