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  • VDB vs VDB

    Been meaning to post this for a while. We know there are a lot of incorrect figs out there but with VDB (Violette De Bordeaux) there seem to be two plants that folks will swear are the legit VDB. One from USDA UC Davis That from my observations often just labels something as it is obtained, so maybe that is not the true French fig, but is ingrained as VDB. That fig has what I call duck foot shaped leaves and often shows FMV to varying degrees but once established does show some long fingered leaves that the “other” VDB shows as a predominate long fingered leaf. I grow both and I don’t believe they are the same. I know growing conditions and maturity greatly effect leafs but after observing for a few years IMHO they are not the same. The long fingered one I obtained from someone not really active in figs anymore but my records show He obtained from Gene Hosey. I am not out to start argument or call anyone’s fig false, but wanted others observations and thoughts mostly as I try to be pretty accurate on my figs and have several I have removed the name and given a Unknown designation just as I was uncomfortable that it was not true. Additionally as we share these figs I would like to be able to note that distinction and with VDB I am sure this has been discussed but I probably missed it, and maybe I am wrong folks think they are all the same.

    Best figs to all
    Phil North Georgia Zone 7 Looking for: All of them, and on and on,

  • #2
    I guess the important question...how are the fruits different?

    And also, how does the TC form of VdB fit into this question?
    SE PA
    Zone 6


    • #3
      i have a VDB from UCDavis and a TC one from Wellspring. It will be interesting to watch them this year and see how they differ.
      Kevin (Eastern MA - Zone 5b/6a)


      • #4
        Yes it is a bigger than 2 fig question, and I was only focusing on 2 plants. I remember someone a few years purchasing a plant as a light fig getting a couple opinions on what it might be, and then taking one suggestion and seemly sending cuttings out to to a great number of folks as VDB. As good as their intentions might have been to share I still bite my lip every time I think of that.
        Phil North Georgia Zone 7 Looking for: All of them, and on and on,


        • #5
          This is an interesting topic. One of the first figs I obtained was a VdB from a forum member. She said she got it from Raintree nursery. It pretty clearly had fmv but still grew ok. I harvested fruit from it when growing it both in a container and in-ground and I was never very impressed. Somewhat later I obtained a VdB from another more local fig grower who got his from Edible Landscaping. The EL version is healthier. This past summer I compared the fruit from them. The EL version (2 years old) was way better than my original VdB. I think the EL version leaves also had somewhat longer fingers but only a subtle different. In both cases the fruit looked pretty much like what VdB fruit is supposed to look like. The Raintree VdB was "freecycled". This is the sort of thing that makes growing figs so interesting or frustrating, depending on your point of view.
          D-i-c-k-e-r-s-o-n, MD; zone 7a
          WL: Castillon, Fort Mill Dark, White Baca


          • veggie_girl
            veggie_girl commented
            Editing a comment
            "...interesting or frustrating, depending on your point of view." Both!!

        • #6
          The VDB is definitely better than the VDB.

          That's to bad. I had thought VDB was one of the defined and established varieties without question but I guess I should have known that there would be multiple versions of it too.

          So which one would this one be considered? Long fingered? Healthy plant but it really doesn't seem to like afternoon heat even in a sip which is why I took the pics originally. The leaves curl and droop in the afternoon and then open back up and night. The figs have a darker color before ripening but I haven't had one ripen yet.
          You may only view thumbnails in this gallery. This gallery has 3 photos.
          Don - OH Zone 6a Wish list: Verdolino, Sucrette UCD, Rubado


          • joann1536
            joann1536 commented
            Editing a comment
            That looks and sounds exactly like the found fig I called "UNK 7th St." I have been figuring it was a VdB because it looked exactly like my "real" VdB. The figs are dark from the start, with a dark red interior. Very tasty fig, a bit of berry flavor.

        • #7
          Here is a link to a blog, discussing this very same topic.



          • #8
            Here is another Thread. Showing more the comparison of the 2 that I most see as VDB or 1 if you think the plant varies more than I do. The USDA UC Davis is to me certainly different then Nero 600m, but the long fingered one resembles it.

            Last edited by strudeldog; 01-13-2016, 07:32 PM.
            Phil North Georgia Zone 7 Looking for: All of them, and on and on,


            • #9
              In France Violette de Bordeaux is not a variety but a whole group of cultivars.
              I know of at least 5 different varieties that all fall into this group.
              So it could well be that more than one different cultivars going around in the USA are called VDB but are in fact different strains.
              Rotterdam / the Netherlands.
              Zone 8B


              • COGardener
                COGardener commented
                Editing a comment
                That is very interesting indeed. Rob do you happen to have pics of the different varieties?

              • Rob Ster 010
                Rob Ster 010 commented
                Editing a comment
                No COGardener but i can give you the names:
                Figue Noire des Landes, Petit violette du Lot & Garonnes, Violette de Marseilles, Violette de Savignac, Violette de st. Martin d'Arberrou.
                All these belong to the Violette de Bordeaux group.

              • COGardener
                COGardener commented
                Editing a comment
                Thank you Sir!!

            • #10
              Here is my VdB. I got it from Bay Flora Nursery in 2013. The tree is probably 4 years old now and only ~4 ft tall (for comparison my Black Jack and Panache are 3 yrs. old and ~6 ft). So mine is definitely a slow grower, very compact. But it takes the heat (117 F summer with reflected heat off a west wall) like a champ. The figs are wonderful. Very intense dark berry flavor with notes of raspberry.

              I wonder which Violette de Bordeaux this tree is more like based on others growing experiences: UC Davis or Gene Hosey's

              You may only view thumbnails in this gallery. This gallery has 4 photos.
              Location: USDA Zone 9b / Sunset 13. Chandler, AZ


              • Rewton
                Rewton commented
                Editing a comment
                That's interesting because VdB is well known to be one of the first figs to show droopy leaves in the heat (although it tends to recover in the evening when it cools down a bit).

            • #11
              She said she got it from Raintree nursery. It pretty clearly had fmv but still grew ok.
              I bought a VDB and Panache from Raintree in April 2013. Both were FMV infected and I wasn't very happy . The Panache did not make it through the Summer and the VDB died in Winter 2014. The VDB had leaves that were narrow and long fingered.

              I probably wouldn't have been happy with either fig trees if they had survived so nature did me a favor.

              There is a lot of grey area in the naming and descriptions of figs due to human error and unscrupulous fig peddlers. I don't think that it will improve anytime soon.

              Don't worry,be happy !

              NE GA ,Zone 7b Low Temperature of 4F in 2015,17F in 2016,17F in 2017,6F in 2018,17F in 2019


              • cis4elk
                cis4elk commented
                Editing a comment
                Did you get a replacement tree or credit from Raintree? They are really good about replacing and/or crediting you for plants that fail, given it wasn't obvious grower error.
                The Petit Negra they sell is a really good fig. It is similar to the VdB I have, but it grows slower, the figs are bigger, and the fig skin stains violette into the white pith; this is the only fig I have that does this regularly. Oh, and the brebas are impressively flavored too..once the tree gets a few years under it's..roots. The one I have has mild FMV.
                I originally got a Brown Turkey and Flanders from them as well, along with the PN. The Brown Turkey had grubs in the roots and never really grew well, the first winter was it's last, they credited me for it. The Flanders had pretty heavy FMV and never fruited well or ripened many figs, I gave it to someone who wanted it more as a plant than a fruit tree. The few figs Flanders did ripen were good though.

              • Gr8Figs
                Gr8Figs commented
                Editing a comment
                "Did you get a replacement tree or credit from Raintree?" I just can't understand why anyone would ship plants that are clearly FMV diseased with yellow and misshapen leaves. I think that I would have been throwing good money after bad if I paid $22 shipping and ended up with another pair of unhealthy fig trees. The Black Velvet gooseberry that I received was healthy and growing OK. My purpose for buying the VDB from them was to compare it to my Petite Negra,Petite Aubique,and Petite Negri growing in ground. I probably will get a VDB sometime in the future,but I really want to see the leaves and fruit of any fig cutting or tree that I buy and to try and avoid plants which won't survive or thrive in ground.

            • #12
              To VDB or not to VDB, that is the question.
              Eatonton, GA zone 7b/8a


              • #13
                Bills Figs in NJ sells a VdB that is different from their Negronne, another one worth looking at if anyone has it (I do not unfortunately).
                Zone 10b, Miami, FL