Welcome to my bonsai blog!

Welcome to my bonsai blog!

Look around! Use the Search box, browse the Archive, and leave comments. Click on any picture to enlarge it.
I would be honored to have you follow my posts. There are two ways to do that.
-- If you have your own blog, use Join this site
to have notifications of my posts sent to your blog's reading list.
-- If you don't have a blog,
use Follow by Email: new-post alerts will be sent to your email address. Pictures aren't included; that's just how Blogger does it. For the pictures you come here!
Fora and vendors that I can recommend from experience are listed in the right sidebar.
For more about the ads, and just why I enabled them, please see "About the ads," below.
"And the LORD God made ... trees that were pleasing to the eye ..." Gen. 2:9, New International Version.

"Bonsai isn't just something I do; it's part of what I am." Remark to my wife and daughter.

Thursday, February 16, 2012


     Part of the fun of growing tropicals comes from the fact that, if conditions are right, they keep blooming and fruiting thruout the winter. One of my veldt fig bonsai (Ficus burtt-davyi) has just produced a couple of new figs! (A picture of the same tree sits above the list of blog followers, to the right of these posts.)

The fig on the right is as large as a large pea, and is full-sized.

A diagram of a syconium.,
For any who don't know, the fruit of a Ficus is an unusual structure called a syconium. A syconium is what is called an "inverted inflorescence:" what we think of as the flesh of the fruit forms a closed receptacle with the flowers inside, surrounding a central cavity and facing inward. (See diagram.) Pollination, in almost all Ficus species, depends on a tiny wasp, the female of which enters the inner hollow thru a stoma in the distal end of the fruit. As she rummages around laying her eggs, she gets pollen on herself. When she leaves the syconium, she carries that pollen with her to other trees of the same species, and the stoma in the successfully-pollinated fig closes behind her. The tree pays for her pollination services with food for her larvae, and a sheltered place for them to grow to maturity.

(The common fig, Ficus carica, is one of the few that don't require pollination by a wasp. So there's no need to
worry about finding a baby wasp in your fig bar.)

The right species of wasp doesn't live in northern Indiana, so my veldt fig's seeds won't be viable. The same is true for the other wild figs I keep: Ficus salicaria (willow-leaf fig) and Ficus microcarpa 'Tigerbark' ('Tigerbark' banyan.) The willow-leaf's figs are about the same size as the veldt fig's, pure green, and flask-shaped. (None of mine are in fruit now.) I have yet to see fruit on any of my 'Tigerbark' figs, so am not sure how they will look.

This tree would be covered with fruit within a couple of weeks, were it not for the fact that I intend to interfere. The tree is due for repotting, and its roots are in active growth, which makes this a good time to carry out that operation. (A root can be seen, fuzzily, in the lower part of the picture, clambering over the wall of the pot.) When I repot, I will remove any fruit that are present, so that the tree's resources will be channeled into the root system's recovery.

But I thought it would be fun to post a picture of these figs, in the middle of winter.

No comments:

Post a Comment