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Ficus carica Linnaeus

Cultivated Fig

(Life; Embryophyta (plants); Angiospermae (flowering plants); Eudicotyledons; Order: Rosales; Family: Moraceae; Genus: Ficus; Subgenus: Ficus; Section: Ficus; Subsection: Ficus)

Figure 1. Ficus carica. A. Wild F. carica on the rocky bank of river Hérault, March 2020, St-Guilhem-le-désert, France © F. Kjellberg. B. Wild F. carica male in fields, July , Malemort, France; at that period, there are no receptive figs on male trees, the wasps can only go from male figs to figs on female trees © J.-Y. Rasplus.

Figure 2. Ficus carica. A. Wild F. carica female tree with ripe seed-containing figs, © F. Kjellberg. B. Wild F. carica male, polliniferous figs at the stage of Blastophaga psenes emergence, © J.-Y. Rasplus.

Figure 3. A. Ficus carica (typical form), on rocks along river banks. B. F. carica (form Ficus colchica Grossh.), this is morphologically the most divergent form of F. carica with gracile branches and flexible leaves, Black Sea coast, Turkey. C. Ficus palmata, Adiyaman Province, Turkey; F. palmata is distributed from Ethiopia to India and Nepal, and is the sole species closely related to F. carica. D. F. palmata male tree with profichi. All photos © F. Kjellberg.

Figure 4. Ficus carica. A. Female tree, receptive fig; the elongate stigmas that will brush the body of the wasp, collecting pollen and ensuring seed set. B. Detail of the elongate stigmas with papillae on which pollen will stick, the styles are long and does not allow wasp oviposition. C. Male tree, inside a receptive fig the styles are short allowing wasp oviposition male tree. D. Fig a few days after oviposition; immature male flowers are visible in the upper part of the fig; in the lower part, female flowers show style with brown trace of ovipositor insertion, the pedicel elongates and the ovule begins to swell turning into a gall. All photos © F. Kjellberg.

Figure 5. A. Fig plantation, Meander valley, Turkey. B. female tree, receptive figs of the second crop (= the crop present on wild female trees), requiring pollination; this phenotype is very similar to typical wild female trees, same locality. All photos © F. Kjellberg.

Cultivated fig South Africa (photographs © Simon van Noort (Iziko Museums of South Africa).


Pollinator: Blastophaga psenes (Linnaeus, 1758).

Non-pollinator (parasitoid of pollinator): Philotrypesis caricae (Linnaeus, 1762)


Palaearctic region; introduced to Afrotropical, Australasian, Nearctic, and Oriental regions.


Ficus carica and its pollination (Kjellberg & Lesne 2020).


Purdue University's NewCrop site (For information on varieties, cultivation and uses).


The Calimyrna fig and its pollinator wasp (Armstrong, 2010).


Do we eat fig wasps when we consume cultivated figs?


Very closely related to Ficus palmata.


Armstrong, W.P. 1988. The calimyrna fig and its wasp. California Garden 79, 135-138.
Armstrong, W.P. 2010
. Calimyrna Figs in California. Available at:
Gaaliche, B. Trad, M. Mars, M. 2011
. Effect of pollination intensity, frequency and pollen source on fig (Ficus carica L.) productivity and fruit quality. Scientia Horticulturae 130 (4): 737-742.

Giliomee JH, Venter E, Wohlfarter M. 2007. Mediterranean black fig fly, Silba adipata McAlpine (Diptera: Lonchaeidae), recorded from South Africa. African Entomology 15: 383-384. https://doi.org/10.4001/1021-3589-15.2.383

Kjellberg, F. and Lesne A. 2020. Ficus carica and its pollination. https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-02516888

Kjellberg, F. van Noort, S, Rasplus JY. In press. Fig wasp and pollination. In Sarkhosh, L. Ferguson, A.M. Yavari (Editors): The Fig: Botany, Production and Uses. CAB International.

Stover, E., Aradhya, M., Ferguson L. & Crisosto, C.H. 2007. The fig: Overview of an ancient fruit. HortScience 42:1083–1087.

Tribolet, I. 1912. Caprification of smyrna figs. Agricultural Journal of the Union of South Africa 3: 247-256.

Wohlfarter M, Giliomee JH, Venter E, Storey S. 2011. A survey of the arthropod pests and plant parasitic nematodes associated with commercial figs, Ficus carica (Moraceae), in South Africa. African Entomology 19: 165-172. https://doi.org/10.4001/003.019.0118 


Photographs © Finn Kjellberg; or © Jean-Yves Rasplus; or © Simon van Noort (Iziko Museums of South Africa).

Next species 

Ficus palmata Forsskål

Web authors Simon van Noort (Iziko South African Museum)

and Jean-Yves Rasplus (INRA, France)


Citation: van Noort, S. & Rasplus, JY. 2024. Figweb: figs and fig wasps of the world. URL: www.figweb.org(Accessed on <day-month-year>).

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