Species list


Ficus carica

Common fig

Common fig, fig (Eng), higuera (Spa), figuera (Cat), pikotze (Baq), figueira (Glg), figueira (Por).


DID YOU KNOW...? Its latex has been used to cure warts, soften corns, fight tooth decay and curdle milk.


This is a shrub or small tree that rarely exceeds 5 or 6 m in height. Its trunk is ash grey and smooth, like the leg of an elephant, but it is often twisted. The leaves are simple, alternate, deciduous, rough to the touch and palmate with 3-5, usually irregular lobes that make them asymmetric. The contour of the lobes may be smooth or dentate. In addition the leaves contain latex, which can be seen very well when cutting the leaf stalk. Flowering and fruiting occurs in the summer. There are individuals whose male flowers are not functional, and therefore they act like females, producing high yields of fruit; on others the female flowers are non-functional and these individuals act as males that do not produce figs; there are also trees that produce figs without pollination (asexually), and all possibilities in between. The fruits, known as figs, are up to 8 cm long, globose or pear-shaped, green, yellowish-green or purple in colour, with sweet, fleshy pulp.


This species is indifferent to substrate, although it prefers deep, dry soils in sunny spots, as long as there is sufficient moisture in the subsoil. We can also find it growing in crevices in rocks and the walls of old buildings, which it can damage with its roots. It ranges from sea level up to altitudes of 1700 m.


As it has been extensively cultivated from ancient times, its exact origin is not known, although it appears to have come from the Mediterranean basin. It is currently distributed across southern Europe, northern Africa and west-central Asia, and there are numerous cultivated varieties.