Fig Fact: Did you know that these are not only fruit, but also flowers? How can this be?
Some of these trees are self-pollinating and others require a very tiny wasp. It enters through a little hole (the mouth) at the end of the fruit. The Brown Turkey fig, which is featured in this blog is self-pollinating so you don’t have to worry about whether you’re going to eat a tiny insect inside of it.
The fruit actually encases hundreds of flowers deep within it’s core. This is why this fruit appears to be slightly hollow in the center.
See this website link for additional knowledge on this topic: Pollination of this delicious fruit
Some fig varieties have a special relationship to a specific non-stinging wasp species. This is how the relationships between figs and insects have evolved to live in harmony. At the bottom end of the fig, you can find a hole called a mouth. The fig wasp is a very tiny insect that pollinates the fig. It crawls in to mate with a male and then lay eggs, while it’s doing that it is able to push pollen deep into the fig to reach tiny flowers and their stamen. This is the way it can fertilize it’s seeds. I have yet to witness a ficus wasp and I’ve been harvesting figs for several years. Usually if one of these wasps have laid it’s eggs, the fruit will shrivel and fall to the ground very quickly.
Be sure to remove them from around your tree to help prevent fungus and insects from attacking your healthy figs.
Figs are very safe to eat, but like any fruit you pick from the garden, observe it carefully before you eat it. If you click on the link above, you’ll notice one of these species of wasp mentioned in the USDA Forest Service article.