Finding the Tennessee Mountain Fig

oxankle_2008February 11, 2008

I am searching for a supplier of (or anyone who will sell me one) a genuine Tennessee Mountain Fig.

I find people who sell Celeste as a synonym for TMF, but only TyTy as one who lists the TMF at a reasonable price--and you folks have scared me away from TyTy.

I've tried figs here, but they freeze to the ground. I've ordered Hardy Chicago and Celeste, but I want TMF as well.

I'm in Oklahoma, by the way.


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mountainman0826(z8B TX)

Several years ago, I purchased a "Tennessee Mountain Fig" from TyTy. I found it to have characters (fruit, leaf, hardiness) that were identical with Celeste. It did not show more hardiness than other sources of Celeste in my collection. In fact, the "Tennessee Mountain Fig" did not differ noticeably from "Nero Caesar" or "White Italian" that I also purchased from TyTy. All were Celeste variants. The fact that you live in Oklahoma probably means that you will need to plant your fig tree in an area that has some protection (close to a house on the south side, etc.) The occasional severe wintry weather that strikes Oklahoma will challenge the hardiest figs, particularly when they are young. Of course, you can always maintain your fig as a potted specimen and move it to a protected area when the severe weather occurs.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2008 at 12:02PM
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TyTy just puts whatever label they feel like on their stuff. Don't deal with them for your own sake. I wouldn't be surprised if they only sell Celeste with different labels.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2008 at 12:17PM
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mountainman0826(z8B TX)

I am not recommending TyTy as a source of fig cultivars. However, to be fair, I did receive a fig cultivar for each fig I ordered from them. The figs were expensive in comparison to some sources. It is not true that they ship only Celeste. I ordered Patrick's Supergiant from them, which turned out to be Brunswick (Magnolia).

    Bookmark   February 11, 2008 at 1:55PM
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I like this note on TyTy: "It is not true that they ship only Celeste. I ordered Patrick's Supergiant from them, which turned out to be Brunswick (Magnolia)."

    Bookmark   February 11, 2008 at 3:53PM
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I can echo two comments about TyTy:

1. "TyTy just puts whatever label they feel like on their stuff". I firmly believe when they get an order for a certain size fig tree they just grab whatever they have the most of in that size, write up a label reflecting the cultivar ordered and ship it.

2. "It is not true that they ship only Celeste". Before I learned about TyTy and before my trees had time to fruit I ordered around 6-7 fig trees from them. Four different ones have fruited, and they are all definitely different cultivars - which is the good news. The bad news is that none of these four were what I ordered. Some more good news is that one of them - yet unidentified - is one of my favorite figs. I was lazy last year and didn't take any good pictures of this one. This summer I will. Maybe someone can ID it for me. It is spherical with a long straight stem. It is mostly green with some purple stripes, and the pulp is red. When I described its shape to Leon last year, he referred to it as my "cherry bomb fig" - which has stuck until I know what it is. I also have two trees that were supposed to be Kadota. They are the same cultivar and produced very good purple figs with red pulp. The leaves aren't right for Violette de Bordeaux, but the figs were virtually identical to VdB figs from my "real" VdB. I know mislabeling will happen with the best nurseries occaisonally. EL mislabeled a fig I bought around this time last year. However, these TyTy people are batting 1,000 on 5 different cultivars. The jury is still out on two more - which have not fruited yet. I wonder what I got from the fig tree grab bag with these two :)


    Bookmark   February 11, 2008 at 4:29PM
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I also purchased a Patrick's SuperGiant from TyTy before I knew any better. We have good weather for them here in AZ and I am looking forward to getting a bumper crop of Brunswick figs from my Patrick's SuperGiant this year.

I remember seeing someone on eBay selling a Tennessee Fig but I just did a search and did not find it. He posts them from time to time and if you keep checking I'm sure you will find one within a few weeks.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2008 at 4:54PM
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Well, I got an earful on TyTy, and one lead on the Tennessee Mountain Fig.

Thanks guys, if you run on to another lead on this fig please keep me in mind. I'll go run Ebay now and then.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2008 at 8:48PM
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Ox, Tyty Nursery is the only place I have ever seen that sells a fig by the name of Tennessee Mountain. I purchased one of these, as well as a Nero Caesar. I planted both of these next to my Celeste, and both seemed to be varients of Celeste. But, there were differences in the size of the fruit, TM was the smallest, NC was the largest. In fact the TM figs were about the size of a large grape.
Anyway, if you are afraid of ordering from Tyty, and can accept what I have said, if you would like some cuttings of my TM let me know.....Lou

    Bookmark   February 13, 2008 at 10:19PM
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I just received (2 weeks ago) my "TN Mountain" and "Mystery-x" figs from TyTyÂ.. Call me gullible, but I had to try them. I was surprised and quite impressed that the "trees" were well branched a full 3 feet tall and the main trunk was very thick and almost no blemishes the roots were VERY thick and healthy. I literally had to double check the return address to make sure they came from the infamous TyTy, and not more goodies stuff from Willis. I am still skeptical as to what these figs are, but if they are anything special, or different, I'll be sure to offer cuttings next winter and I did plant them close to one another but far away from all my other figs.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2008 at 1:37PM
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I would love to try growing figs as I've frequently heard about how good they are fresh. If anyone is willing to tell me where to get them (who or what and where is TyTy)or anyone willing to ship me a few cuttings from different varieties they have success growing in East, TN I'd more than glady pay shipping and then pass on the favor once I get my trees established.


    Bookmark   April 14, 2008 at 11:31PM
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pilothawk give me an email,


    Bookmark   April 15, 2008 at 9:24AM
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So my "TN Mountain Fig" from Ty Ty is dead to the ground for the second time ... and had some cover. My other varieties (uncovered this winter) look great. I dont know what fig my TN Mountain Fig is, but I plan to remove it.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2008 at 2:38AM
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wabikeguy(7 AB)

Orderded 7 fig trees from AArons in Georgia (tye tye), Jan 3 08 for a March 22 delivery. Paid in advance. $148. March 22 came and went. No trees.
I've since called back 6 times. I have been told that they were "waiting for gel packs to ship my order and that it would be shipped "tromorrow", that they could not find my order (three times), that they found my order "on the desk" under another order" and that it would be shipped "immediately"."

Today, April 16, it's "we can't find the order and are checking our files." They will call me back. Uh Huh......

From what I've read, even if they do actually ship something I shouldn't expect much.

I'm writing this one off as a lesson learned.

Guess I'll try again next year. Maybe with someone local...

    Bookmark   April 16, 2008 at 3:16PM
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I don't intend this message as a defense of Ty Ty Nursery, but I will say that the 'Tennessee Mountain' fig that I ordered from them in the early 1980's is definitely not a 'Celeste.' I planted the 'Tennessee Mountain' fig in the backyard of my house in Athens, GA, and, in 1999, moved back home to SC, where I built a house on our family's farm in northern Anderson County. Before moving, I rooted a limb of the 'Tennessee Mountain' fig by anchoring it. When it had rooted, I pruned off the limb, lifted its mass of roots, and potted the young plant for relocation to South Carolina.

During the years that I observed the 'Tennessee Mountain' fig in Athens, I would say that this variety is as cold hardy, or perhaps more cold hardy, than such common fig varieties as 'Brown Turkey' and 'Celeste.' I would also say that it is definitely not the same fig as 'Celeste.' My Athens plant bore very large figs with red pulp and a green to yellowish green skin when ripe. I think 'Celeste' bears small figs, doesn't it?

As to where you can get one of these figs, I don't know of a source other than the Ty Ty Nursery, and I haven't patronized them since the controversy erupted.

My plant survived its relocation to South Carolina but went into a severe decline. Once again, I rescued it and now have a recovering specimen growing in a large container. When I get this specimen planted in the open ground, I'll be happy to anchor one of its limbs for you to try in OK. However, it may take a couple of years for the fig to be ready.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2008 at 3:56PM
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Good luck in re-establishing your fig - it must be good considering your efforts to keep it.
But if it definitely isn't a Celeste type, then it isn't Tennessee Mountain. Tennessee Mountain is supposedly a bud sport of Celeste and would resemble Celeste.
This is from Ray Givans web site listing Tennessee Mountain as a synonym of Celeste: "...Tennessee Mountain Fig (which may be an even hardier bud sport)."
I guess TyTy has been doing this for a while. Customer orders a particular fig - cutomer gets a fig with that particular tag.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2008 at 4:44PM
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My TN Mountain fig from T*T* (as I described above) is DEAD.

It had great roots when I planted it, but it never broke any buds, just up and died... Perhaps it's because I'm in the "Mississippi River Delta" of Tennessee, and not the Mountains?-(

The "Mystery-X" Fig is doing pretty well and I'm layering off a baby now.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2008 at 9:12PM
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Reading all of your messages makes me feel some what spoiled. I live in east Tennessee and love to see what's in the woods. I recently found a strange large leaved plants and wanted to see what they were. I have confirmed that what I found were indeed wild Tennessee mountain fig trees. But not just one or two but twenty or more. Unfortunately they are all very small only three feet or so, but as look deeper into the woods I'm finding more and more fig trees. I have not yet found a mature fig tree producing fruit, but I'm still looking in the woods. It may even be possible that I can give some genuine wild Tennessee mountain fig trees. So if some of you guys want one I can probably get one for you. However, I must warn you they are small but grow pretty fast. I took one home and as the winter got down to 5 degrees F it's still doing just fine.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 11:54PM
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if you do find a tree small enough to ship let me know so i can send you the money. i want one to grow in a pot

    Bookmark   May 10, 2009 at 1:32AM
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For terrelldcarter - hey we are moving to TN - where abouts are you located? I would love to find some TN figs with you or buy some from you or whatever.

I just planted 6 fig trees in TN last week.

Please respond here or -

    Bookmark   May 10, 2009 at 2:49AM
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Fig trees don't seed outside of the range of the fig wasp. So any fig trees must have been planted - which seems a little strange.
A close relative of the fig, the mulberry, does produce (many, many) seedlings and the leaves can very easily be mistaken for fig leaves.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2009 at 10:56AM
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The FF poster in this thread mentioned he has Tennessee Mountain and Celeste. He doesn't give his e-mail address (or say where he got the TM), but since his post was recent he might respond if a message is posted to his thread.

Here is a link that might be useful: Tennessee Mountain owner

    Bookmark   May 10, 2009 at 12:24PM
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We have 4 old fig trees that I think may be Tenn Mt. Very much like our Soughern Celest, bears brebas and main crop same time, only slight different leaf and taste. The trees have withstood over 60 winters unprotected. We live about 100 miles West of Memphis in AR. Either email me, or give me your email and we can see if this is what you are looking for.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 9:46PM
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As excited as I was to find the elusive TMF. I have found that what I told you was a slight mistake. The trees in the woods (which I found turned out to be mulberry trees) are indeed extremely similar to the fig tree leaves. But after seeing the picture of the TMF in Oak Ridge I had to look for myself and it seems pretty true to its title that it is a TMF. I live about 5 minutes away from Oak Ridge and once I finally found it I must say it does look remarkably similar to a Celeste but there are some minor differences that over time skill, knowledge, and experience can make it appear quite noticeably distinct from each other. I will try to get a cutting from that tree and root it and over time may have the ability and opportunity to get some of you a prosperous Tennessee Mountain Fig Tree. By the way my Aunt in South Carolina is bringing me an unwanted fig tree from her home at the moment I don't know what type it is but am eager to find out. Once again sorry about the false comment.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 4:06PM
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You all have me curious. I live in the mountains of Tennessee and there is a very old common fig that is completely cold hardy that is grown around here.

As far as I know, I do believe I have only ever had it produce but one crop- a strong indicator that this is the Celeste type? I dunno, mine are small, mostly green but with some blush on a side when ripe.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2010 at 10:35PM
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These are the ripe fruit. Is this the 'Tennessee Mountain fig'? I know it is completely cold hardy and does NOT get froze back.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2010 at 4:23PM
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mountainman0826(z8B TX)

Jon-The fruit pictured is Celeste. Tennessee Mountain Fig is just the name given to a Celeste variant by TyTy. In my experience, the fig's characters are those of a Celeste, no better, no worse. However, my Tennessee Mountain fig tree did "kick the bucket" several years ago.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2010 at 5:35PM
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noss(Zone 9a Lafayette, LA)

Every place I've seen the TN Mtn. fig listed it's referred to as a Celeste.


    Bookmark   August 11, 2010 at 3:35AM
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Jon:I agree your plant is Celeste,no more no less.
Yes it is cold hardy.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2010 at 8:56AM
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noss(Zone 9a Lafayette, LA)

Hey! There's nothing at all wrong with a Celeste tree, except if the weather is super-hot and dry and then, if they are older trees and you water them, they don't drop all of their figs. I still got more figs than I could eat from my one Celeste out back this year and I keep the tree small. It's in a bush form, rather than tree form. I love the taste of the Celeste. I loved Celeste figs before I even knew what they were called because they were all over here when we moved here. I am thinking that if they are planted in really hot areas, they should not have full sun all day, so maybe that's why they would do well in the mountains of TN.


    Bookmark   August 12, 2010 at 12:56AM
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mountainman0826(z8B TX)

Most fig enthusiasts agree that Celeste is one of the best tasting figs, if not the best tasting fig. The major issue in this thread, in my view, is whether there is any significant difference in Celeste and the majority of the figs shipped and sold by TyTy as "Tennessee Mountain Fig". The overall consensus seems to be that the figs are one and the same. I suppose I can understand a marketer renaming a fig in order to generate excitement (Nero Caesar, Tennessee Mountain, White Italian, Patrick's Supergiant). Most of the fig varieties listed by Condit have multiple names and some have dozens! The names are often evocative of the history of the figs and tell a tale of the convoluted journeys they have taken. As enthusiasts, however, it is very useful to have names that we all recognize. At times, there are still surprises. For example, a few years ago, DNA testing revealed that Vista Mission and Violet de Bordeaux were one and the same. An examination of the leaves and fruit of the two varieties in my collection verified the finding. A couple of final notes on Celeste: Although it is a great-tasting fig and a "must have" in a collection, as a commercial fig, its small size is a real drawback. A larger fig, such as an Adriatic, is more efficient when making preserves or when picking fresh figs to sell or share with your neighbors. Also, in my opinion, the key to avoiding fig drop in Celeste and other varieties is to be sure that the tree is adequately watered. Shade is not the best solution. The tree will survive, but fruit production will suffer. The application of well-composted manure just prior to the growing season is also helpful in improving fruit production.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2010 at 11:39AM
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Rugged mountainman,
Very well said indeed!
These many fig names
are driving me real crazy,

Here is a link that might be useful: Fig Naming and Identification - Confusion, Frustration and Solutions

    Bookmark   August 12, 2010 at 12:31PM
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I live in Middle Tennessee. I grow Celeste and have for maybe 25 years. I do protect them in the winter as I get more fruit, often two distinct "waves".

I also grow the Jefferson Marseilles fig (apparently, from Monticello, a scion from the fig Jefferson brought back from France). This fig is a large yellow fig, unbelievably sweet. Grows well, produces much fruit -- but must be protected in the winter -- where I live, anyway.

This is a pix taken in April when I took the covers off. (unfortunately, I don't know how to post an image here but you can put the address in your browser and view it)

My neighbor has a fig that grows and looks very much like Celeste but is more winter hardy and has a flavor very much like the black mission fig. It has that slight bitter after taste. It grows and produces very well here. Unfortunately, my neighbor has no idea what it is or where it came from. I'm getting some cuttings this week to start a few.

What I want to know is if anyone has or has considered a commercial planting in the mid south. I notice in the Tennessee Dept of AG brochure on market availability, it lists figs(!).

    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 9:16AM
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