Some things you might not know about figs:
- There are about 800 species of figs.
- The ‘fruit’ that we eat is not a fruit, but actually a collection of flowers called an inflorescence.
- These flowers grow on the inside of the ‘fruit’.
- Each species of fig is usually pollinated by its own species of wasp in a symbiotic relationship.
- It is thought that figs could be the oldest cultivated crop (preceding wheat and rye by up to 1000 years).
- Figs have a higher quantity of fibre than any other dried or fresh fruit.
Etymology: Ficus is the Latin for fig (you get that with very old plants).
Uses: Figs can be eaten fresh or dried. Fresh figs don’t travel very well, so unless you are lucky enough to have your own tree, you can usually only buy dried figs.
History: Figs are an ancient plant and are mentioned in the Bible and the Qur’an.
Another species of fig is the Indian banyan tree (Ficus benghalensis) that is considered sacred. It represents eternal life because of its seemingly ever-expanding branches.