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  • Have Figo Preto, do I need Black Maderia?

    So I see from many threads on this site and others, that Figo Preto and Black Maderia are essentially the same. So for me it raises the question, is there any reason whatsoever to have both? I have a Figo Preto cutting that is rooting nicely and starting to leaf out. I also have a Black Maderia cutting that must actually be petrified because it acts like a piece of rock. It is showing absolutely no signs of doing anything. Is there any reason to get another Black Maderia cutting?

    Really, I only care about the flavor and productivity. Having a complete collection just for the sake of it, does not interest me. At the end of the day I will be keeping a much smaller number of trees than I now have started. I will keep the best tasting and best performing for my area. I may also keep a few just because they have a cool factor.

    Thanks,
    Dan

  • #2
    They are just about identical so as far as needing both I guess that's up to you. In my case my black madeira is healthy and my preto is overrun with fmv which is opposite of most.
    Ryan- CenLa, zone 8a/b

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    • #3
      I have both and last year (only one so far) and I could not tell the flavor apart, both are delicious, and the best figs I have had.

      In answer to your question, I would keep only Preto because for me it is the better grower, and as far as I can tell hasn't shown any symptoms of FMV where as the BM does show it, and growth also seems to reflect the FMV, slow.

      I have contemplated getting rid of the BM (why do I need it) but it would be a bear to ship as it is heavy. I am going to try upping the fertilizer this year to see if BM responds with better growth in pot . My Pretos have earned the best places in my yard.

      My first year Pretos produced on average as many figs as my other first year trees, one produced about 20 figs on a 3 foot tree, but only a dozen ripened before cool weather. I am hoping ripening will be earlier this year. These are from cuttings started in winter.

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      • #4
        Hi, I am no expert but I would keep both for at least three to five years. From what I've read everything can change within that time frame, ( taste, production, etc.) Of course that's if you have the space and time to do so.

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        • #5
          Some folks will disagree but I am quite certain they are exactly the same fig. I keep cuttings from my trees labeled separately and only sell each under the name I acquired them, but I see no difference in the growth or fruit of these trees. I think anybody that grew 10 trees of each would also come to the same conclusion, though some folks may have sources that somehow were less infected with FMV. I've heard some people claim FP is earlier and some say BM were earlier for them. I just think the differences were based on small sample sizes. I'm also pretty sure that both have a formal name of Violeta in mainland Portugal, though this name seems to have been lost on the island of Madeira.
          My fig photos <> My fig cuttings (starts late January) <> My Youtube Videos

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          • HarveyC
            HarveyC commented
            Editing a comment
            I don't find that to be the case for either, but I don't live in a rainy climate. Again, I see no differences in the fruit.

            There is no fig in Portugal know by the name of &quot;Black Madeira&quot;. On Madeira, there is a fig that is typically called &quot;Figo Preto&quot; which simply means &quot;black fig&quot;. A friend of mine there (Steven D.S.) is sure it is what we call Black Madeira. Francisco from Algarve is quite sure they are the same fig and he has a lifetime experience with figs of Portugal and he also says both are 'Violeta'.

          • danw
            danw commented
            Editing a comment
            Well Harvey, my Figo Preto came from you, and it is rooting fine and the buds are starting to open. The Figo Preto cutting looks totally different than the BM cutting that I got from the Santa Rosa Scion exchange. It was the last one and maybe there was a reason, It is a skinny gnarly looking thing that looks like it was grown under some tough conditions. While the Preto cutting is 1/2 inch and has young looking healthy bark and has nice buds on it. It has rooted easily for me. I guess there is no need for me to pursue the BM any longer. I will keep trying the BM cutting I have, but if it dies then it dies.

          • HarveyC
            HarveyC commented
            Editing a comment
            The Black Madeiira cutting at the scion exchange came from USDA/Wolfskill (I made sure to order it for the CRFG exchanges as I want more people to be growing it and sharing it) and the two trees they have there don't get pruned much so they also don't get that much new growth from their trees each year. On the other hand, I've been pruning my trees back a lot (to have cuttings to propagate and sell, etc.) so I also get a lot more new vigorous growth. My Black Madeira and Figo Preto cuttings look the same/similar. My grafted Black Madeira tree put on about 7' of new growth in 2015 while the non-grafted Black Madeira and the two Figo Preto trees each put on about 4' of new growth. From memory of my August 2014 visit to Wolfskill, I'd guess the Black Madeira trees there get 15&quot;-24&quot; of growth in a year.

        • #6
          I guess I spelled the name wrong in the title, but I can't seem to edit it. Thanks to all who replied anyway, and for not taunting me

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          • #7
            Originally posted by danw View Post
            I guess I spelled the name wrong in the title, but I can't seem to edit it. Thanks to all who replied anyway, and for not taunting me
            You have not yet earned the right to be named an honorary Portuguese! FYI - madeira is Portuguese for "wood" (in Spanish it's madera). The largest fig grower in the world is headquartered in Madera, CA. Get those names embedded in your mind!
            My fig photos <> My fig cuttings (starts late January) <> My Youtube Videos

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            • #8
              Originally posted by HarveyC View Post
              You have not yet earned the right to be named an honorary Portuguese! FYI - madeira is Portuguese for "wood" (in Spanish it's madera). The largest fig grower in the world is headquartered in Madera, CA. Get those names embedded in your mind!
              This is how the name is currently embedded in my mind I wonder how it would pair with the fig of the same name?

              Click image for larger version

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              • Sarahkt
                Sarahkt commented
                Editing a comment
                You might like V. Sattui's Angelica too. Great winery for having a picnic!

            • #9
              Danw,
              I have Black Madeira cuttings that were bought from Harveyc. They all have budded and one was put outside. I would be interested in a straight trade in couple of weeks for the roots to develop more. Thanks. Cary
              WL:1-Bass'FavFig 2-KaryasPrasina3ParatjalRimada
              4-CDDPintada 5-Adriano's yellow w/red stripes
              6-Luv aka Wolf,I'm really dreaming.

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              • danw
                danw commented
                Editing a comment
                Hi Cary,

                I only have one Figo Preto cutting going, so I am not in a position to trade yet. Ping me in the fall and I may be able to take a cutting. I guess it depends on how mine happens to grow.

            • #10
              I have two Figo Preto cuttings from Harvey that rooted well last year and are now 12" and 15" tall. But my grafted Black Madeira from Harvey that started around the same size as the FP cuttings last year is now 31" tall from the bottom where it's grafted onto the rootstock to the top. It produced a delicious fig late last year and would have produced more if I hadn't weeded them off. If they are the same variety, then the difference has to be the graft. BM is in the ground now. It will be a while before the FPs are large enough to put in the ground or trust with fruit.
              Mara, Southern California,
              Climate Zone: 1990=9b 2012= 10a 2020=?

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              • HarveyC
                HarveyC commented
                Editing a comment
                Glad your grafted BM is growing well for you Mara!

                I have one BM and two FP that are not grafted and of nearly identical age and they are approximately the same size (normal size variations, somewhat affected by pruning/training decisions). My grafted BM of the same age is several times larger. I posted about that on my Facebook page to show the comparisons: https://www.facebook.com/Figaholics/...62955093764904

              • danw
                danw commented
                Editing a comment
                Does that mean that the root system mainly controls the plant vigor? Also, if the FP and BM both have FMV, and that is why they are slow growers, does that imply it is not transferred to the rootstock once grafted?

              • HarveyC
                HarveyC commented
                Editing a comment
                I don't think I can claim to understand what completely goes on that affects vigor.

                I see BM, FP, and a few other varieties that tend to send out roots that are finer than the strong aggressive roots of some other varieties. This might be partly due to FM but I think there is probably some genetics involved also. FMV will certainly transfer between the scion and the rootstock but the grafted versions of BM do obviously seem to grow with much greater vigor (same for my Ischia Black which was posted in another thread).

                For those growing strictly in pots, I suppose the increased vigor could become a disadvantage, requiring more root pruning, etc.

            • #11
              I agree with others (above), based on my observations, that FP and BM are the same fig i.e. they are indistinguishable. I think some of the variations that people describe are due to the severity of fmv that a particular plant happens to have. If you have a healthy specimen of either FP or BM it would be redundant to collect the other.
              Steve
              D-i-c-k-e-r-s-o-n, MD; zone 7a
              WL: Nantes Maroc

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              • #12
                I went with Black Madeira because I am in Florida and the consensus was that BM ripens later than FP. Late ripening figs are a plus for me because it is much better if the fig ripens after our rainy season has passed (end of Sept).

                So if they are the same fig, does BM just ripen later because it is unhealthy?

                Looking back, now I wish I would have gone with Preto, because my BM is a pathetic grower.

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                • Levar
                  Levar commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Good point about BM vs Preto for our rainy season.

                  Where'd you get your BM? Member KK has distributed a strain that grows nicely. Tim Clymer of threefoldfarm.com is selling that one and it's where I got mine. It's still young and I haven't allowed it to produce fruit so I can't offer any observations about its habits.

                • HarveyC
                  HarveyC commented
                  Editing a comment
                  To be honest, I think that the &quot;consensus&quot; is a bit of a sheep mentality or urban/figger legend of sorts. I believe Frozen Joe (or someone else I've mixed up with him) has claimed the opposite. I don't believe any such assessment can be considered very seriously unless a person is growing 10 trees of each. I have two of each and my first fruit last year was from a FP. My grafted BM grows very vigorously but does not ripen fruit earlier, just more of it.

                • m5allen
                  m5allen commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I got my BM from uncle Wills. I think at the time I bought mine, he had just acquired the FMV free BM, and there wasn't much to take cuttings or air layers from.

                  I am going to try and dose mine this year with fertilizer and see what that does.

              • #13
                I have three Figo Pretos and three Black Madeiras. My BM UCD is sickly and highly infected and is only 2ft tall at 3+yrs old. My two BM KKs want to grow in a more tree form, whereas the Pretos grow in a more squat form. Their fruits look to be the same and have that characteristic taste, but the growth patterns are definitely different. Last year I put them in different types of pots and in different areas of the yard to see if it would make a difference. The Pretos still grew "squat", while the Black Madeiras reached for the sky. I'm not sure if it just happens that the Preto tree in CA had some characteristic that made it grow differently, or if they are slightly different genetically.

                As far as do you need both? Yes, and multiples of each! Not because their differences are large, but because they are amazingly good haha. If you can only fit a few trees, and want variety though, no I would not have both.
                Youtube: PA Figs eBay: tdepoala
                Wishlist: Galicia Negra, Paritjal Rimada, Black Ischia UCD

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                • #14
                  I think with many varieties you can find many examples of growth patterns but those likely will not carry through long term or over large numbers of samples which are statistically significant. Howard at Wolfskill said that Duarte Nursery identified 7 strains of FMV in various fig trees at Wolfskill and surely some varieties carry multiple strains of the disease. Black Madeira originated from a tree in California not far from where the original tree named Figo Preto came from so I'd think both were likely exposed similarly to FMV at one time. I don't know if KK obtained his original cuttings from Davis or elsewhere but even one of my customers from late last year said that the BM he started from one of my cuttings is growing very well with no signs of FMV. Why? I have no idea. I had a 3 year old BM which originalted from Davis that was about 4' tall at the end of last year (I dug it up and sold it to someone who begged me for it and persuaded me with some pretty good money (though about 1/8 of the record price I heard of).
                  My fig photos <> My fig cuttings (starts late January) <> My Youtube Videos

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                  • #15
                    Do you know of anyone who sells Figo Preto tree or cuttings?

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                    • #16
                      Originally posted by sahmadi View Post
                      Do you know of anyone who sells Figo Preto tree or cuttings?
                      You can always check out figbid, or figaholics, or wait for WillC sale in November.
                      Zone 7a - Dover, DE Wishlist: ALL OF THE FIGS!
                      Seriously : LdA, CLBC, CC, all CdD, All LSU, Black Ischia

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                      • #17
                        I heard they are the same. I have FP and not interested in BM. However, I also heard BM is a slow grower and my FP is a soldier, growing fast and fruiting mad! I'm happy with my FP.

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