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  • Hardy Chicago

    Hardy Chicago -
    aka Bensonhurst Purple

    Fred Born acquired this variety from an Italian grower in Chicago a number of years ago and has shared it with other enthusiasts. It has also become a commercial variety for it is an excellent fig. (Note: Hardy Chicago does resemble Brown Turkey, but the leaves and fruit are distinguishable. It is very hardy. The fruit is small to medium with blackish-purple skin and strawberry pulp. Small eye. Pyriform with long slender neck. Leaf: base calcarate; 5 lobes, lyrate. Very good fresh, dried or in preserves. Responds well to oiling (a method of inducing ripening of immature fruit in late Fall) . Well-adapted in the Eastern U.S. and deserves trials in the Northwest. Last summer I confirmed to my own satisfaction that the commercial variety offered by Edible Landscaping is identical with Fred's variety. Synonym: Chicago Hardy.
    Productive and easy to grow. Bears delicious medium-size figs. Exhibits drought-tolerant once established. Plant will die back in colder climates and resume growth in spring. Has tendency to bear fruit on new growth. Fruit produced on the old wood will appear in early summer and fruit on new growth will appear in early fall. Ripe fruit has a dark mahogany color. Also known as Bensonhurst Purple fig. Originates from Sicily. Grows well in containers! Heat-tolerant. Ripens in July through frost.
    A brown fig, rich and sweet. Good for potted culture, although it is our most dependable outdoor fig. Hardy Chicago ripens its figs from August until fall frost and will have some fruit in July. Has produced as many as 100 pints of figs in one season. Does extremely well in NC and we send this one to enthusiasts up north, because of its early fruiting tendency. Success will vary with every location, so be sure to give it the warmest, most protected place. It's our best fig and came to our attention in the 1970's when cuttings for propagation came from Fred Borne, a North American Fruit Explorer member. Cuttings were supplied to him from a man from Chicago with a "U" shaped house, from a bush he had protected for some years. Without protection the mature bushes top would die back from winter cold, but sprouted from the roots and ripened some figs at the end of the season. Most fig varieties do not share this trait. Usually, a fig's above ground growth must survive the winter in order to fruit the following season. Leaves are the 5-lobed type and the plant has a bush form in the east. Space 8' to 10' circle in Zone 7
    This edible fig can take subfreezing temperatures, dying back in the fall and resprouting in the spring. The medium-sized fruit ripens to a delicious, sweetness in late summer and early fall. For northern growers, give it a heavy mulch with hay or leaves when dormant. An excellent candidate for pot culture, this easy-to-grow fig is also known as 'Bensonhurst Purple.' Its origins are from Sicily.


    Additional Info:

    Additional Pictures:

    1. http://figs4fun.com/Varieties.html
    2. http://ediblelandscaping.com/products/shrubs/Figs/
    Last edited by OurFigs; 03-05-2015, 01:25 AM.

  • #2
    Finally leafed out for me for some pictures. Got mine from Home Depot. Leaf looks quite Mt Etna-like.

    Zone 8a/7b
    2nd or 3rd year plant. Was pruned to basically nothing when I got it last summer, but still fruited.
    Quite vigorous. Has increased 50% in size since leafing out a month ago.
    Fig is light to medium brown in color. Quite lacking in sweetness last year, but it ripened late and on a young plant. Very "figgy." Expecting better this year.
    Assume FMV+, but displays minimal symptoms. One or two mottled leaves. This particular leaf has a little bit of mottling in the lower left quadrant near the thumb.
    Most leaves are similar to the one below. This particular one is a bit asymmetrical, but that's okay. You can see some of the lower leaves have a slightly different look (e.g. bottom right), but the majority of them are like this, and the one to its left/behind.

    Click image for larger version

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    Brett in Athens, GA zone 7b/8a


    • #3
      Some additional leaf photos. These were taken in June, and tend to not be as deeply lobed as larger leaves from later in the season.

      Click image for larger version

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      Click image for larger version

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      Click image for larger version

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      Here is also a photo of a more immature leaf showing even less deeply cut lobes

      Click image for larger version

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      SW PA zone 6a


      • #4
        that report is incorrect.
        once a tree has been inground n protected for four years, it does not ripen in the fall.
        in zone 7, it starts ripening on august first.
        burner of trees
        high plains, maybe zone 7.