How does one start a new hybrid of fig tree?

terry_upstate_ny(5)June 5, 2013

In the case of the common edible figs, which are seedless to my understanding, how would a person be able to create a hybrid from two different types of fig trees? For example, if I wanted the cold hardiness of one tree, of a tree like Hardy Chicago, and wanted to combine that with a different fruit flavor, say VDB, is there a way to create a hybrid?
I haven't had the good fortune to study at LSU to find out how the hybrids were created there, wish I could have. I understand a little about human genetics, but botanical genetics is all new to me.
From what I have read on the web, LSU varieties were created for the southern climate of humid Louisiana.
I know that growing figs from seeds is unpredictable, because you don't know what traits the new tree will have most likely due to the different genetic combinations the trees can have., for example, a brown eyed human mother and a blue eyed human father having a children with blue eyes, it has to do with dominant and recessive genes, But that seems like the fun part to me, developing a new types and then propagating the best of them.
Terry

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fignewbies

Hi, Terry:

I also would love to create my own hybrid fig tree but don't know to do it!
I would get to name the new fig tree with the name I want it to be called! Since I have no children, naming the new fig tree is almost like giving a new child a name, how exciting!

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 4:56PM
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terry_upstate_ny(5)

Yes fignewbies the naming of a new fig variety would be fun, so much better than just giving it a number from an experimental trial. I was reading the book link in Herman2's recent post, it says that fig trees can live for hundreds of years. I guess that most of the varieties that exist today have evolved naturally over the thousands of years that fig trees have been around.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 6:05PM
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herman2_gw

Terry:Violette and Hardy C,are both females fig plants.
They can't be cross pollinated.
If you want to mix them,one of the 2 get mixed with male caprifig,and a male seedling is chosen from that cross,and that male cross is used as pollen donor for the remaining female,and after that viable seeds will be obtained from second female.
Those seeds will be grown again and females selected after fruiting,and of course the best Female will be kept after a few years of growing and comparing them.
It is a very time consuming work,and the results are usually disappointing,in that the new hybrids are inferior to any of the 2 mother,the experiment was started with.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 8:46PM
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terry_upstate_ny(5)

Thank you for explaining that Herman2. Am I correct in thinking that every pollinated seed would be different, having a different potential, and could be a male caprifig or a female common fig? Then these would all have to be grown to see which was the best female common fig, and then propagated.

Terry

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 7:42AM
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fignewbies

Hi, Terry:

A recent post called-"Figs are spongy inside"
written by pattyg50 talking about her volunteer fig.
Herman2 said she positively has a male caprifig.

Maybe you can contact her(hopefully she hasn't killed the tree yet) if you are interested in trying out the experiment.
Or better yet, contact Encanto farms:
http://encantofarms.com/
and see if they have anything of use to you!

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 10:14AM
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herman2_gw

Terry:There is more to it:
If the male is ,nonpersistent caprifig(most are this way),the resulting female plants will be in need of pollination,if they are to ripe fruits.
In order to obtain common fig female plants one has to use ,pollen from a persistent caprifig,and that is not easy.
Because Persistent C,have very little pollen and is difficult to harvest pollen from them artificially.
In the commercial world ,only cauducous caprifig is used for pollination.
However for producing new self fertile female plants only persistent caprifigs are to be used,in order to have a chance to produce a worthy female self fertile common female fig.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 11:06AM
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fignewbies

Hi, herman2:

Finding a worthy male caprifig to cross sounds almost like going into a huge mountain looking for just 1 piece of gold!

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 3:52PM
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terry_upstate_ny(5)

Herman and Fignewbies,
I can see why LSU needed to suply a lab for these type of experiments to be done, it sounds to complex to be done at home for a fig hobbiest.
It is amazing that so many edible fig varieties do exist, most of them from 'natural selection' of nature.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 7:01AM
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herman2_gw

"Thank you for explaining that Herman2. Am I correct in thinking that every pollinated seed would be different, having a different potential, and could be a male caprifig or a female common fig? Then these would all have to be grown to see which was the best female common fig, and then propagated."
Yes Terry you are correct,in your thinking.
Even tho the male used was persistent,every new seedling will be ,male or female,and will produce fruits of different value,some inedible ,sour,and some good palatable fruits.
So it will need selection work to find which one is best and keep it.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 11:32AM
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americanfigboy(5)

Sounds like I will be dead before I get a plant I want out of there.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 2:18AM
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fignewbies

Hi,

If I can have the luck or honour to create a new hybrid tree and all the qualities I ever wanted: productive, hardy, unique with beautiful leaves and nice-looking(like the panachee) fig fruit that has wonderful flavour, I will be so thrill! Since I have no kids, I would love this tree that I have produced as my only child!

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 10:29AM
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barnhardt9999(8a)

A quick fact to better understand the nature of fig breeding. Of the 30,000 trial seedlings at UCD Davis (through the mid-70's) only 5 new varieties were released. That is with the resources of geneticists and premium caprifigs. Not to say itâÂÂs impossible, but you need to be very very lucky or have lots of patience and resources.

You are far more likely to bring a "new" variety to the fig world by searching for unknowns in ethnic neighborhoods.

Your other possibility is getting a "sport". Every so often a branch will mutate and have different characteristics from the mother tree. From this you can propagate cuttings of the new variety. Panache is widely believed to be a sport rather than a bred variety.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 3:44PM
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herman2_gw

The high quality cultivars we have today,Ex: Col De Dame,Dalmatie,Barnisotte,Malta Black,Longue D'Out,Violette de Bordeaux,Ronde de Bordeaux,etc,were all selected from the wild,by ancient people while they were hunter and gatherer,of course over hundreds of years,and not all at once.
Ancient people were intelligent enough to mark,and keep secret the location,of a valuable fruiting fig tree,and returned to it again and again every Summer to harvest the fruits.
Later on they learned to multiply that tree from wood scion,and that is how cultivar was born.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 3:47PM
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herman2_gw

The high quality cultivars we have today,Ex: Col De Dame,Dalmatie,Barnisotte,Malta Black,Longue D'Out,Violette de Bordeaux,Ronde de Bordeaux,etc,were all selected from the wild,by ancient people while they were hunter and gatherer,of course over hundreds of years,and not all at once.
Ancient people were intelligent enough to mark,and keep secret the location,of a valuable fruiting fig tree,and returned to it again and again every Summer to harvest the fruits.
Later on they learned to multiply that tree from wood scion,and that is how cultivar was born.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 3:49PM
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terry_upstate_ny(5)

So it seems that figs are still evolving, with environment possibly changing a fig and natural pollination from a caprifig.
It seems to me that the fact that a fig tree can have some leaves or a branch that is different from the rest of the tree, may have something to do with the environment helping to bring out different genetic attributes because the tree will try to adapt the best it can to the environment it is in.
Terry

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 7:49AM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

This is a fascinating thread. What puzzles me is that there are so many fig cultivars out there. Is it possible that most of the figs in production are the same but with a miriad of different names?

    Bookmark   June 20, 2013 at 11:54AM
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herman2_gw

While it is known that every old cultivar have more than one name,
Ancient superior cultivars are distinct,one from the other and can't be ,one same cultivar:
Example:Violette de Bordeaux,is totally different in every aspect,to St Anthony.
There is nothing they have similar.
Leaves fruits, wood ,cold resistance ,flavor,interior exterior color are totally different.
The only common attribute they have,is:both are sweet when ripe,anything else,is not the same.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2013 at 9:22PM
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