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Plant Profile: Fig

Excerpt from Wikipedia: The fig is the edible fruit of Ficus carica, a species of small tree in the flowering plant family Moraceae. Native to the Mediterranean and western Asia, it has been cultivated since ancient times and is now widely grown throughout the world, both for its fruit and as an ornamental plant.

A fig plant is a small deciduous tree or large shrub growing up to 23–33 ft tall, with smooth white bark. Its large leaves have three to five deep lobes. Its fruit is tear-shaped, with a green skin that may ripen toward purple or brown, and sweet soft reddish flesh containing numerous crunchy seeds. The milky sap of the green parts is an irritant to human skin. In the Northern Hemisphere, fresh figs are in season from late summer to early autumn. They tolerate moderate seasonal frost and can be grown even in hot-summer continental climates.

Figs can be eaten fresh or dried, or processed into jam, rolls, biscuits and other types of desserts. Since ripe fruit does not transport and keep well, most commercial production is in dried and processed forms.

In 2018, world production of raw figs was 1.14 million tonnes, led by Turkey and North African countries (Egypt, Morocco, and Algeria) as the largest producers, collectively accounting for 64% of the total.

Size: 23 to 33 feet tall.

Uses: Herbal medicine, jams, baked goods.

Companions: Rue, comfrey, mint, stinging nettles, strawberries, marigolds.

Habitat: Warm, dry, and tropical climates - food source for monkeys, apes, elephants, rhinos, tapirs, giraffes, birds, and fruit bats. The inside of a fig fruit is also a habitat for fig wasp larvae.

Harvest: Two harvests between June and September, when figs are soft to the touch.

Fun Fact: Figs grow on every continent except Antarctica.

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