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THE 4 TYPES OF FIGS

It is not possible to divide the fig types. They are probably formed one after the other in the order described below, but they still belong together; the later type is inconceivable without the earlier type, and, above all, they cannot be reproduced and further developed. In our region, however, quite generally north of the Alps, only cultivated figs can be grown, since the fig wasp has not advanced as far north as the fig itself. All Lubera Gustissimo figs are cultivated figs!

 

1. The common fig, the original fig, has male and female flowers. Its flower biology, the length (or rather the shortness) of the flowers, the maturity of the fruits is ideally matched to the biology of the fig wasp. In fact, it has only one disadvantage – ex post evaluation and from a human point of view – it is small and fruitless. Biologically "everything" is right here, more than any other fig.

2. The Smyrna fig has only female flowers. They are much longer and develop much more fruit pulp, including fruit acids, sugars and other interesting contents. Above all, the Smyrna fig is also much larger than the common fig. From a biological point of view, however, it has two "defects": (almost) no male flowers are formed (how is pollination possible without a common fig?); and because of its long blossoms it prevents the reproduction of the fig wasp, upon which it is very reliant! 

3. The San Pedro fig is, so to speak, an intermediate product of the development of the common fig to the cultivated fig (see point 4), which, however, is a step back biologically. The San Pedro fig can, in its first formation of fruit, produce and develop figs without pollination, depending on the climatic zone between June and August (the so-called breba fruits); in the second fruit stage, in the summer and autumn, it is compulsorily dependent on pollination by the fig wasp.

4. The cultivated fig can be grown entirely without pollination, and it can produce two harvests of parthenocarpic fruit with a correspondingly long period of vegetation. It is, in particular, north of the Alps, in the middle of Europe, and in many parts of North America, completely and utterly at the mercy of human beings. It cannot reproduce itself naturally and without the chance of a stray fig wasp it is simply impossible to propagate itself in moderate and northern climates.

If it was not for mankind, the cultivated fig would be a cul-de-sac in nature. Cultivated figs, which are the type of figs that are found in our Lubera range, can only be bred in order to develop further, in which the common fig with its good fruit quality and recessive (non-visible, transparent) genes for long flowers and parthenocarpy is crossed with parthenocarpic fig varieties, i.e. cultivated figs. From the germinating seeds, which are then produced in exceptional cases, a quarter of them are again developed into cultivated figs.

Of course this has happened in the past in nature, from which reservoir most of the known varieties have been selected. But without cultivation, with selection, and vegetative, "artificial" reproduction of the best figs of this type, they would simply have perished again in nature due to their sterility. That is why the term "cultivated figs" is more than just appropriate.

Markus Kobelt

 
 
 
 

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