The fig tree is Ficus carica. The fruit (συ̂κον, G5192) is a succulent, enlarged hollow receptacle, containing the flowers inside. The flowers are not seen unless the fruit is cut open. The land of Pal. was described (
Again and again the fig tree is used by God to indicate the prosperity of the Jewish nation, (
Hezekiah is cured of his illness by a “lump” of figs being laid on the boil, presumably as a poultice (
The fig is mentioned in
There are today in the Holy Land both cultivated varieties of figs and wild figs. Most modern Israeli gardens contain a trained fig tree, and it is foretold in the OT that in the final days every man will sit under his own fig tree. Looked after, the fig can be a thirty ft. tall, strong tree—growing wild, it will straggle uncontrolled over the rocks and stony places.
Figs are shaped generally like pears though there are rounder varieties. At the farthest end from the stalk there is a small aperture through which a pollinating insect, called the fig wasp, may go. When the ripened fig is eaten, the little somewhat gritty seeds are “felt”—these are indeed the true fruits. The fig is the receptacle that holds them.
In the E, the fig tree produces two definite crops of fruits per season. The normal winter figs ripen in May and June and the summer figs in late August and September. Sometimes, one crop overlaps the other. The baby fruit buds are usually seen in February before the leaves appear in April each year.
It is possible to pick fruits over nine or ten months of the year in Pal. In Europe, and esp. in Great Britain, the baby figlets are killed during the winter, and so the first crop is never produced. Fig trees have lived for over 400 years. In the days of Pliny, there actually were six known varieties.
Our Lord condemned a fig tree at Passover time on Mount Olivet (
Young fig trees growing in the drier regions need to be mulched with dung (
A fig tree produces masses of large green leaves and gives ample welcome shade in a hot country. This is the reason one finds a fig planted next to a well. The thick dark shade keeps the water cool. See Agriculture.