Fig

Ficus carica - L.

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit.

Edible Uses: Curdling agent.

Fruit - raw or cooked. Sweet and succulent, a fully ripe specimen is an exquisite fruit that almost literally melts in the mouth. The fruit is often dried for later use and this dried fruit is a major item of commerce. Figs are usually pear-shaped and up to 5cm in diameter. A nutritional analysis is available. The latex from the sap can be used to coagulate plant milks.

Medicinal Uses

Cancer; Demulcent; Digestive; Emollient; Galactogogue; Laxative; Pectoral; Stings; Stomachic; Tonic; Warts.

A decoction of the leaves is stomachic. The leaves are also added to boiling water and used as a steam bath for painful or swollen piles. The latex from the stems is used to treat corns, warts and piles. It also has an analgesic effect against insect stings and bites. The fruit is mildly laxative, demulcent, digestive and pectoral. The unripe green fruits are cooked with other foods as a galactogogue and tonic. The roasted fruit is emollient and used as a poultice in the treatment of gumboils, dental abscesses etc. Syrup of figs, made from the fruit, is a well-known and effective gentle laxative that is also suitable for the young and very old. A decoction of the young branches is an excellent pectoral. The plant has anticancer properties.

Cultivation details

Requires a well-drained medium to light loam and some lime rubble incorporated into the soil. Can succeed in dry soils, although it is important to make sure that the tree gets ample moisture, especially when the fruits are ripening. A heavy wet soil tends to encourage excessive plant growth at the expense of fruit production. Prefers a very sunny position but tolerates part-day shade when grown on a warm wall. It is a good idea to restrict the roots of fig trees with rocks on most soil types in order to discourage excessive vegetative growth at the expense of fruit production.

Propagation

Seed - sow spring in a warm greenhouse. Prick out the seedlings as soon as they are large enough to handle and overwinter the young plants in a greenhouse for at least their first year. Plant out in late spring after the last expected frosts and give some protection for their first winter outdoors. Cuttings of mature wood 10 - 12cm with a heel, winter in a frame. Fairly easy, but the cuttings must be kept frost free. It is probably best if the cuttings are put in individual pots. Layering.

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