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Fig plant

The fig plant: origin and main characteristics

The fig tree comes from western Asia, but has been planted for millennia in southern Italy, so much so that it is considered a “symbol” of many southern areas. Easy to find in gardens, vegetable gardens and hillside lands, this fruit tree offers a product that is not really a fruit, but an inflorescence. The real fruits, in fact, are the very small seeds that are found inside the fig tree itself. Usually, the fig plant ripens its fruit twice a year, giving life to fioroni between June and July and figs between August and September. The best habitat for these plants is represented by warm and not too humid areas, such as, in fact, the hilly or marine areas of Southern Italy. Temperatures below 10 ° C are “deadly” for the fig tree.

White fig from Cilento: DOP product


Those who love figs will surely know that among the best there is the white fig of Cilento, both in the ‘fresh’ version and in the dried one. The fig plant that gives rise to white figs is the species Ficus carica domestica L. whose characteristics refer to a particular biotype. This species is characteristic of Cilento, but is also found in Calabria and in particular in the Cosentino area. The fruits, on the inside, are light in color and different from the classic fig, which is typically red. The peel is also different, not only in consistency, being very thin, but also in color, since it remains light green unlike other species in which the peel tends to darken. Finally, the dimensions are different, which in the Cilento fig are smaller and the taste, sweeter and more delicate.

The white brogiotto of Liguria


Another variety of white fig is the borgiotto, very common in Liguria and in the Genoese area and which is also often grown in pots. This fig plant, in fact, is also very suitable as an ornamental plant. To grow the fig at home, it is good to use a pot that is large and deep, fertilize the soil with organic fertilizer and do not water too much, since one of the most common reasons for the death of the fig in pot is the rotting of the roots for too much. water. It is also of fundamental importance not to confuse the term “ornamental plant” with that of “houseplant”. The fig, in fact, needs much sun and light and only in case of freezing winters it would be advisable to bring it indoors, since low temperatures can be the cause of death of the plant.

Fig plant: The red fig and the black fig in Italy


The most common variety of fig plant is that of the red fig, where “red” means the color of the pulp. From the “aesthetic” point of view, fig trees look alike and all have beautiful and palmate leaves, so the less experienced can recognize the different varieties only by the fruit and the color of the pulp or skin. The most common fig in Italy has a red pulp and, despite having a sweet taste, it does not reach the sweetness of the white fig. In other cases, the different types of trees are distinguished by the color of the fruit peel, which can be green or black. The black figs are also called “fioroni” and are figs of a very valuable quality that are not produced by all the varieties of trees, but only by those with white pulp, such as Cilento or Ligurian.

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