No wasp, no ripe fig?

AnaCostaOctober 15, 2013

Hi all,

I have been reading up on fig wasps and I have seen that there is an important relationship between them and ripe figs.

I have recently posted a message asking about my new fig tree, and mentioned that some of the figs it had dropped off prematurely, and that they had larvae inside them. In the meantime some more dropped too, and those didn't have any larvae in them.

I am now assuming they are dropping from repotting shock (as also suggested by a forum member), and nothing else.

My doubt is as follows: My fig tree will be indoors for a while, at least a year or two. During this time, I assume, as it is indoors, it wil not have contact with fig wasps (unless I somehow keep the ones I assume are in the figs my tree still has). Does this mean I will not have ripening figs for two years?

I can put the tree in my varanda, but I live in the city, and all sorts of nasty critters attack the plants in my varanda, ranging from red spiders, to come sort of catterpillar, to cochineals and god knows what else, and I'd like to spare her and myself from such horrors.

Please forgive my noobness on the subject, any explanation would really help.


P.s- Please see the photo below, I am no expert and don't really know what it is, other than F. carica. I was told it is from the south of Portugal (Algarve)

This post was edited by AnaCosta on Tue, Oct 15, 13 at 12:34

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I am not a fig expert but I will share what I know. The answer to your question depends on what variety of fig you have. There are 3 main classes of figs and the class is what determines if a fig wasp is needed for producing ripe figs for that particular variety. There are many varieties in each of the main two classes but fewer in the third class called the 'San Pedro class'. The first class is called (in America anyway) "Smyrna class figs" - these require the wasp to pollinate both the early or breba crop of figs and the main or late crop of figs, or else the developing fruits drop off. The other main class is called 'common figs' - these do not require the wasp at all - the figs will develop without pollination (both crops, if your variety makes 2 crops). There is a smaller 3rd intermediate class of figs called 'San Pedro class figs' which form a breba crop without the wasp but need the wasp for the main crop. I do not know what these classes of figs are named in Portugal.

So without knowing the variety of fig you have, you cannot know if the wasp is needed.
To make things more confusing, the wasp can pollinate both the common and San Pedro classes of figs also, which makes the developing fruit a little different - many feel the figs develop more flavor and crunchiness from seeds.

So what you really need to find out is your variety of fig.

Good luck! You might have more success with someone familiar with Portuguese varieties.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2013 at 8:36AM
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Thanks so much for your explanation, I now have a better understanding of the three types.

As you say, it is really difficult to find out which type it is. So far I haven't found much Portuguese literature on Portuguese figs, which is silly really, we love them, we've had them forever, loads of types, yet most of the texts I find are either Brazilian, about culinary, or the selling of figs :p

I have tried joining a group that was suggested to me here, supposedly it has Portuguese people in it (it does actually), and hopefully one of them will save my noobish self hehe :-)

Thanks again, your explantion was greatly appreciated :-)

    Bookmark   October 16, 2013 at 9:34AM
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