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nafex - Re: [NAFEX] figs from seed

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  • From: Gene <>
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  • Subject: Re: [NAFEX] figs from seed
  • Date: Tue, 22 Jun 2004 04:05:33 +0200 (CEST)

I know an elderly German lady who lives nearby (just outside Washington, DC) who received a packet of dried figs as she and her husband left to emigrate to the US.  She liked them so much she set one aside and planted it here.  It produces figs without the benefit of caprification, and they're fine -- nothing out of the ordinary, but fine.  She has several others that started as clones -- as most are.

A small clarification to what Lon wrote --  while it's true that common figs don't need to be pollinated to set fruit, however if they are pollinated their seeds are viable.  Most common figs are grown to be eaten fresh, and tend to split and spoil when caprified.  Those needing pollination tend to be grown for a dried product, and the seeds give it texture, and a nutty flavor.

Ira Condit was a big fig breeder during the first half of the 20th century.  He and others were searching for the holy grail of the fig industry -- a fig with the taste of being pollinated, without actually being pollinated.  The tiny wasp tends to bring contamination with it and spoils a higher portion of the crop than what growers might wish for.  One nice thing about growing from seed is that the fig mosaic virus that many plants are infected with isn't transmitted through the seed.  Of course mosaic spreads so easily that it probably wouldn't stay clean for long.

-- Gene Hosey (Washington, DC)


Date: Mon, 21 Jun 2004 13:01:18 -0700
From: "Lon J. Rombough"
Subject: Re: [NAFEX] figs from seed
To: North American Fruit Explorers
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"

The snag is that the only figs that produce viable seeds are the types that
need caprification - pollination by male figs via the wasp that does the
job. That means figs like Calmyrna and Smyrna, which are the two main types
available. The types usually grown by home growers are so-called "common"
figs which don't require pollination, but don't set viable seed, either.
You can get this type from the caprified figs, but there usually aren't many
and they aren't always very good. "Advances in Fruit Breeding" edited by J.
N. Moore has a good section on the subject.
Most of the time the fig seeds will give male and female figs, but very few
of the "common" types.

-Lon Rombough

Has anyone on this list grown seedling figs and ended up with fruit that is
good quality. I have read that the odds of getting anything edible at all
is pretty low, but I would like to hear from someone that has actually tried
it. I know that there are a few varieties out there that resulted from
immigrants planting seeds of figs they brought back from the ³old country².

-Mark Lee, Seattle

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