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  • is there a male&female fig tree

    asked by fig pig

  • #2
    Sort of. Common figs don't need another tree to pollinate them. Caprifigs have pollen and don't generally bear figs that we'd enjoy eating. There are also figs which will not ripen a crop without caprification (the fig word for pollination). There is only 1 insect which pollinates figs, the fig wasp Blastophaga psenes, and it will not survive in NJ. There are soooooo many amazingly good common figs available I find no need for other kinds. NJ is a great place to grow them.
    7B Southern NJ


    • #3
      fig pig- I have a fig tree in the ground 10 yrs& no figs .took cuttings3 yrs ago &have a nice 6ft tree and no figs what can be wrong


      • #4
        Well all fig trees have figs, edible or not so male/female isn't your issue. How much good direct sun does it get?
        Cutting sales will start Tuesday Nov 1 at 9:00 eastern


        • #5
          Fig pig: Regarding your original question (is there a male and a female fig tree?), I'd tell you "yes, sort of". Most fig trees are hermaphroditic in one way or another, with lots of variations on what that actually means. (In some, the female parts of the flower are incapacitated or otherwise disabled, on others they are self-fertile, in others fertilization is not needed for ripening of fruit, and the list goes on and on). If you want to know more about this in general, there's actually a pretty good article about what "sexuality" means in plants out on wikipedia. (Look up "plant reproductive morphology" there, or go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plant_...ive_morphology ). There are also articles about fig sexuality, describing the basic divisions of different classes within Ficus carica (the species of figs that most of us are involved with) --
          Common figs,
          Smyrna figs, and
          San Pedro figs
          (aka Persistent, Caducous, and Intermediate classes of Ficus carica figs, in the same order). Ray Givan wrote a summary article about this topic, called The Weird Sex Life of the Fig, which can be found here: http://figs4fun.com/links/FigLink006a.pdf (I saw an earlier version of this article which I liked better, in one of his booklets, but this covers most of it). While I think most of the trees are gynodioecious (look it up if you care to get into the wide set of variations and subtleties about Ficus reproduction), some are functionally "male" (we call them caprifigs) and others functionally "female" (maybe some are actually unisexually female, I don't know).

          But for what I think you're really asking (your post #3), I agree with WillsC. The sexuality of figs isn't what's causing the problem you're seeing there. All of the different sex types of fig trees make figs (what we call a fig is a synconium, basically an inverted cluster of flowers). "Male" fig trees (caprifigs) make figs that you wouldn't want to eat. Look for other reasons to explain what's going on with that particular tree. It could be environment (how much sun does it get?), culture (e.g. too much nitrogen, or thousands of other problems), or any of a thousand other problems. I'd start with the basics. Or I suppose it's possible that you've got a mutated individual that is sterile and incapable of producing flowers / synconia, but that's a very low probability.

          Good luck as you sort out the basics. Of course, if you've got other varieties in the same environment and they're producing well, you could just take the practical approach and ditch that one. :-)

          Mike -- central NY state, zone 5a -- pauca sed matura


          • MichaelTucson
            MichaelTucson commented
            Editing a comment
            That url in wikipedia is -- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plant_...ive_morphology Hmm, I guess the display just sometimes shortens how a url shows here... seems to work as a link anyway). The style of that article is a bit academic or maybe pretentious, but despite a few errors I saw there, it looks mostly helpful if you want to learn about that sort of thing.
            Last edited by MichaelTucson; 10-22-2016, 02:31 PM.

        • #6
          Horticultural Categories of Fig Types Cultivars of Ficus carica are classified into four categories or "types" based on sex and the need to be pollinated or "caprified" in order to set a crop. They are;

          1. Caprifig - type: Has male and female flowers enclosed in the synconiom and is generally considered the “male” fig. All caprifigs are placed in this class without regard to whether the synconia persist or not.

          2. Smyrna - type: Has only female flowers and needs cross-pollination by Caprifigs in order to develop normally. This crop sets virtually no breba crop.

          3. San Pedro - type: Has only female flowers. Its breba crop needs no pollination to produce fruit like the common fig. Its second crop is commonly dependent on pollination.

          4. Common - type: The flowers are all female and need no pollination to produce fruit (parthenocarpic fruit set). Some cultivars in this class set no breba crop, some set a moderate crop and some set a good breba crop.
          Pete R - Hudson Valley, NY - zone 5b