Spring and Summer Figs

July 23, 2020



Photographer: Menashe Davidson 
Summary Author: Menashe Davidson 

Ficus carica is an Asian species of flowering plant in the mulberry family, known as the common fig (or just the fig). The fig tree, a deciduous tree, has long been an integral part of the landscape and agriculture of the eastern Mediterranean region -- a staple food for humans for thousands of years. What is commonly accepted as a fruit is a hollow fleshy inflorescence stalk inside which tiny flowers develop, known as the syconium. The flowers aren’t visible outside the syconium because they bloom inside the infructescence.

During a walk on May 8, 2020, in a herbaceous area near Ayalon Park, Judean Hills, Israel, (see Related Links below) I was fascinated by the fig trees, particularly the one shown here in the photo at top. I noticed that it produced fruits on the previous year's shoot growth (left photo in the second picture). These fruits mature in the spring, a phenomenon called breba (bakura in Hebrew). However, the main fig crop develops on the current year's shoot growth (right photo on the second picture) and ripens in late summer or fall. The mild climate of this current year enabled the development of the breba crop. In colder climates the breba crop is often destroyed by spring frosts.