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  • First Tena Main crop

    Well the fig that was pretty unknown until the White Marseille fiasco is now in lots of yards and pots. A voracious grower (see pic 5) I have pruned it except for last year and it has 3 branches over 15 foot this year. but was slow to put out fruit. I had a Tena breba earlier this year and it was the best of all my brebas. Picked four and two were 48 grams each, starting to crack and super soft the light pinkish interior was sweet but not super sweet like a Celeste, reminded me of a LSU Gold but with a light Honey Dew melon taste. Very refreshing with a light seed crunch. A keeper for sure as the fruit is finally as prolific as the growth.

    Pic 1 is today's picking of many Celeste, 4 Purples, 4 Tenas and a single Chicago Hardy plus a handful of Concord grapes. Pic 2 is weight of all 4 Tena's of 173 grams, pic 3 is one of the 2 that were 48 grams. And 4 is sliced before they fell down my throat! Pic 5 show a Tena rooted at the same time as the 2 Champagnes on the right and a Scott's Black .These are giveaways for our Fig Frolic coming up in Ooltewah, TN.
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  • #2
    A little Tena History...

    Tena was a hybrid of a capri and Calimyrna (Sari Lop) originally from Turkey. Calimyrna is the largest fig crop in California but is a Smyrna and require the wasp. It was produced by Ira Condit in the mid '70's who got his props from a fig Monograph he wrote in 1955 laying out the documented history of every known fig to assist in ID'ing them. He also developed figs like the Tena and Conadria. (CONdit ADRIAtic) The Tena was developed to be a common version of Calimyrna for wider distribution nationwide without the need for pollination.

    Agristarts is a company in Florida that produces Tissue Culture (T/C) plants and sold many thousands of the Tena fig mislabeled as the famous "White Marseille" fig brought to America and grown in Monticello by Thomas Jefferson. They blamed it on having no knowledge of figs and trusting a supplier. How are you in the plant business and do not have an Horticulturist on staff, really?

    In a nutshell the Tena in the Mid South is a productive pretty much average fig. Taste is sweet with a Honey Dew melon taste to me. As I prefer production over small boutique crop and expensive plants I like it and can't wait for more fresh fruit and dried figs.

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    • #3
      You seem to be THE GUY for this Tena-WM-Agristarts thing. Could you tell me more about how you found out about this, ways we can confirm it, how you think it got started and why you think it hasn't been fixed yet? I want to write an article to kind of consolidate this information you've so kindly documented for us. Going to dig through your past posts to comb things together, but I would love some direct commentary from you.
      My CollectionFor TradeWish ListMy Listings
      Zone 8A •
      Greenville, NC

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      • jmrtsus
        jmrtsus commented
        Editing a comment
        Condensed version

        I was intrigued by the documentation of the so called "Thomas Jefferson" fig. He brought cuttings back on his return from France, one of which he describe as a "White fig from Marseilles" in letters. He also said it was his favorite fig and distributed cuttings to many others so I just had to have this historic fig. I bought two tiny T/C plants from different sources. This was my intro to the T/C Agristarts fiasco. Once they were growing for a year or so I realized the leaves were not correct from what I found online. I contacted Agristarts with pics of their leaves and a real White Marseille. They admitted it was not correct and were going to check it out. They asked me where they could get the real thing and I explained they already were selling the real White Marseilles as a Lattarula they stocked and to simply relabel their Lattarula to "Lattarula/White Marseilles" as they were the same fig. Don't know if they did. But as they are a wholesale company they had sold many thousands of the incorrect figs but when asked to notify the growers downstream they went "radio silent" and remain that way trying to hide their incompetence in the fig growing area. On top of this fiasco it was becoming apparent that their quality control was non-existent as you had a 50/50 shot at getting the correct fig type from their customers who grew them out to potted plants sold to Lowes and HD and garden centers. Plus you had many plants that grew normally so it was processing and distribution errors that made buying any T/C plant a crap shot at getting the correct plant and one not od'ed on chemicals that inhibited fruit production. 6 years and I still have two T/C's that I don't know what they are and they take forever to produce fruit for many, many people.

        I then knew that the 2 White Marseille NOT fig trees I had were a mystery so I set out to ID them but that required fruit from the tree. I finally had a few and it was a white fig with a pinkish interior. I proved with a little Sherlock Holmes research action it was a Tena. I did study all I could find on the White Marseille and find it fascinating as to the history of this fig.

        And finally this year I had a fully ripe White Marseille figs that was........... wait for it........produced by an Agristarts "Brown Turkey NOT" plant LOL! And they were damn good and with luck I will pick a few more today along with some Tena's. Blanche is the long held historical name for the White Marseille and its many synonyms and with all the mislabeled Tena's out there we need to get away from the White Marseille name, I saw a post awhile back referring to WM1 and WM2, wow. Even Monticello 2 years ago was selling Tena plants for the White Marseille and had no clue it was not correct.

        Other than Agristarts lack of care in their stupidity with T/C figs that still angers me I enjoyed the ID'ing and learning the history of the Blanche fig. It is not known for sure where it originated in antiquity other than the Mediterranean area. But I will promote it for the South and South East area of the country as I don't know how well it does anywhere else and I find it a wonderful fig!

        ID is simple now, posts of the leaves and fruit of both prove the mix up. With Agristarts being silent I don't know what they are doing. I hope they have stopped selling the Tena as White Marseille. But even if they have the wholesale growers will still have stock in 2 year or older plants so people are still finding them and the many folks that sheared cutting have also caused the propagation of even more incorrect plants. Only time will tell is they have corrected the QC, I also found cuttings from T/C plants would produce fruit long before the mother plant so they make great cutting generators for me. I give lots of plants and cuttings away each year so the T/C wild spider growth habit has at least one positive.

    • #4
      Originally posted by jmrtsus View Post
      Well the fig that was pretty unknown until the White Marseille fiasco is now in lots of yards and pots. A voracious grower (see pic 5) I have pruned it except for last year and it has 3 branches over 15 foot this year. but was slow to put out fruit. I had a Tena breba earlier this year and it was the best of all my brebas.
      I assume yours is in ground since it is 15 ft tall. How old is your tree now? Do you think the prolific fruit production is because of its age or do you think it might be because you didn't prune it?

      I also have a Tena that was purchased as a little plug labeled White Marseilles (I got mine from Baker Creek but they sourced from agristarts). It is 6 years old now and has always been a vigorous grower but didn't fruit until last year. I pruned it heavily this past winter and it grew well this spring but it only set 1 figlet this year. One! On a huge 6 year old tree in a 25 gallon pot! So I'm thinking that it hates being pruned. I'm going to give it one more winter. I'm not going to prune it. I'm going to leave it outside unprotected. I'm even considering putting it in ground, but in a suboptimal location where it needs to clear a 6ft wall in order to reach full sun -- which I think this variety will have no trouble doing. If it starts fruiting next year then great. But if it doesn't, it will become a frankenfig. So far I have already grafted a Niagara Black to one of its many branches and will do one more each year that it disappoints me. I'm hoping the Tena responds well to threats and punishment.
      Last edited by Figwasp; 08-13-2021, 10:37 AM.
      Seattle (zone 8b).

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      • Bellefleurs
        Bellefleurs commented
        Editing a comment
        My Tena is misbehaving too!!
        Last year mine produces just a couple of figs. This year …none. It’s a 6’ tall tree that stands in full sun in my yard. At least three years old. No excuses. I did prune it but only slightly. It has leafed out but nothing, despite getting its needs met. I plan to do the opposite and really whack it back this year …perhaps Joe can offer a few Italian threats that I can try 😉
        TorontoJoe

      • jmrtsus
        jmrtsus commented
        Editing a comment
        Probably both......it was pruned 2 years ago and made a late handful of figs that did not ripen. This year it had a few brebas and is loaded now, just picked 5 more and 2 dropped as I was pulling the branch down to pick them. This year I will prune the tops back to a reasonable height and not touch many branches. Has been in ground for 4 years now. Probably at least 150 figs on it. The same can be said of my Scott's Black and Champagne both loaded this year but much too tall.

      • jmrtsus
        jmrtsus commented
        Editing a comment
        Bellefleurs

        It is a T/C.....I have 3 that are 7 years old and never a fig LOL! My Ischia Green has never fruited, a VDB that has white figs this year I hope they ripen so I can ID it, and a Kadota that has never fruited. Don't prune it this year and see what happens. 5 in ground figs went untrimmed last year and are covered in figs this year, they are Celeste, Purple, Champagne, Scott's Black and Tena. The Tena reminds me of LSU figs and loves the heat, rain and humidity of South Central USA.

    • #5
      Any recommendations where one might get the true white Marseilles?
      My CollectionFor TradeWish ListMy Listings
      Zone 8A •
      Greenville, NC

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      • jmrtsus
        jmrtsus commented
        Editing a comment
        Blanche, White Marseilles, Lattarula, Italian Honey and Lemon are synonyms, all the same plant. Lattarula was a name erroneously given to the Blanche by a seller as the name of a fig in Italy. There was no such fig in Italy named "Lattarulla". Lattarula, Italian Honey and Lemon are monikers added in the USA. We as a forum need to drop all the other names and any nursery selling more than one name should be shunned as either ignorant or just running a scam to sell newbies more figs. As to the White Marseille the market is polluted with the Tena called a White Marseille. I have relabeled my White Marseille and Lattarula to Blanche. And would suggest to all to do them same.

      • Michael
        Michael commented
        Editing a comment
        Shaft, I've read in multiple places that they are synonyms.

      • Shaft
        Shaft commented
        Editing a comment
        I'm considering renaming my figs. I am hesitant to do that - prior, my policy has been to sell figs as they were sold to me, which is why I have genovese Nero and i258, negronne and vdb, etc - but if you say it's a good call I will

    • #6
      Thanks for all of your research on the subject. I have a "White Marseilles" from a person that I grew out of a cutting and it's going on three years we'll see if it fruits this year. I also have a "Tena" that I bought from a nursery, that gave me figs that others said were "not Tena", so I'm hoping to learn more and compare both this year. The "not Tena" was very good, so I don't care what it is, but would like to figure it out some day. The fig journey is full of surprises. I appreciate your insights and suggestions and will use you pics to try to ID my "White Marseilles" when the figs show up. Thanks jmrtsus !
      Ellen
      Valley Center, Ca 9b
      Rancho Los Serranos Organic Farm

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      • jmrtsus
        jmrtsus commented
        Editing a comment
        Look at the leaves, five long slender fingers is a Tena. And you are welcome, I enjoy learning new things.

    • #7
      Thanks again jmrtsus! I do too, and I think that is what makes this forum so much fun! I'll do a check of the leaves today and do some drawings for my notes so I can start getting the ID together. I always forget that many people are newer like myself and do not really know what they have. So when I get something new, even from a nursery, it might be a surprise!

      It's the same with dragon fruit. I grow it commercially and most of the time it really does not matter exactly what variety you have as long as the flavor is good. Some markets want a specific variety and a certain size or packing, but many people just love the adventure of finding new fruits and flavor, just like figs. Lots of Mis ID in that world, so I have to wait to see flower buds and flowers and fruit before I'm sure of the ID. I might tell someone that I THINK it's this variety based on the characteristics. Even the University sources make mistakes with ID, but most of the time they own up to that. One really great person told me that the only way to know for sure is by Genetic testing, and sometimes they come out very closely related but just a tiny bit off so that might be another reason for the different naming in figs also. I always enjoy your posts, Thanks for being there!
      Ellen
      Valley Center, Ca 9b
      Rancho Los Serranos Organic Farm

      Comment


      • #8
        Have you downloaded Condit's Monograph on figs yet. If not do so. It is the fig bible of fig ID of the great majority of figs. Basically all documented figs prior to 1955 and the number of new common figs since then is pretty small. Start with learning about the figs you have including synonyms so you don't buy the same tree with 5 different names,LOL! Most figs have more than one name. Feel free to PM me with questions and I'll get back to you. I know nothing of the Smyrna/Capri figs or the wasp, don't have them in E.TN. Used to live at the opposite end of Interstate 8 from you in AZ.



        https://ucanr.edu/datastoreFiles/391-296.pdf

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        • #9
          jmrtsus the last time I spoke about condit someone was like oh well condit makes mistakes herp derp... I mean everyone makes mistakes but IDK something about that person's attitude told me not to use him as a source, he wasn't reliable, so I haven't since. Could you help clarify this?
          My CollectionFor TradeWish ListMy Listings
          Zone 8A •
          Greenville, NC

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          • jmrtsus
            jmrtsus commented
            Editing a comment
            The problem with "Condit made mistakes" is bogus. I have never seen anyone post data on his being wrong, not saying he is perfect....just I "read or heard". If you gonna call someone a murderer show me the body! Here is an example of the type of data he reported "Eisen regarded Blanche and Versailles as distinct, but later authors, such as Nomblot, Soc. Nat. d’Hort. de France (1928), and Simonet et al.,treat them as the same variety." He reports what he found, how can that be wrong? He did not take sides as he had no first hand knowledge of this report. Are they the same or different? Condit did not know, he reported what was written. Most Condit critics are non readers I think so therefore the info is old and out of date to them. I believe many think only stupid people were around prior to the year 2000.

            He reported the data he could find, he did not say anywhere in his Monograph all of the many thousands of documents he referenced were "truth checked" LOL! He did point out where he had personal knowledge of something where he thought were errors. Some people are just not aware of how plants have been identified reliably for thousands of years and seem to not understand the Celeste trees today are the same ones highly documented for many, many years by many, many different people. DNA tells you if a plant has a relationship with another. It cannot tell you of leaf shape, fruit characteristics or growth habits if it has no match to say it should be similar to xyz. It takes humans to document that. I believe some think DNA is a know all, tell all process. It is just another tool but a human can tell you much more about a plants habits.
            Last edited by jmrtsus; 08-18-2021, 12:11 PM.

          • Shaft
            Shaft commented
            Editing a comment
            Thanks guys Figland jmrtsus that was very informative!

          • Figland
            Figland commented
            Editing a comment
            jmrtsus I have actually read people saying "Conduit makes mistakes" but I believe at least one of these people was speaking about genetic relationships of particular varieties. I'm not at the level of knowledge with figs so I wouldn't know these things. It would be amazing to be able to have that level of understanding. It's a long term activity learning and trying to come up with enough background to make these determinations but we'll all get there if we keep at it long enough and have people to share our thinking with and help refine it. I think you are correct about DNA also, and they have to check the entire DNA to have the real map and actually know if one plant is the same as another. Like someone else said, children are close but not complete matches. We may be at this figuring out similarities and differences for some time, so I guess we'll have to learn to enjoy the journey at least, Thanks Shaft for the thread, Thanks jmrtsus for some really great insight and information!

        • #10
          looks exact same as my Lattarula. a keeper in my region.
          Richmond, BC, Canada Zone 8A
          WL: List Completed. What do you recommend?

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