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"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.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Surprise Figs

     I'm presently growing four species of Ficus: F. burtt-davyi, F. buxifolia, F. microcarpa 'Tigerbark,' and F. salicaria. They have all set fruit at one time or another, except the 'Tigerbark.' That's a little surprising, since F. microcarpa is one of the figs most widely grown for bonsai, and has a well-earned reputation for being relatively easy to grow.

And I've seen fruit on other cultivars of F. microcarpa, like 'Green Island' and 'Gold Coin.' Just not 'Tigerbark', which appeared to be the holdout. Until a couple of weeks ago, that is, when my oldest 'Tigerbark' surprised me with a few figs!

Figs on Ficus microcarpa 'Tigerbark.' Yellow cast due to artificial lighting.
The fruit is small, not much more than half the size of an ordinary dinner pea. Like the fruit of many Ficus species, it doesn't dangle. The darker spot at the distal end (blue arrow in the picture above) marks the stoma which, in the wild, allows a symbiotic wasp entrance to pollinate the flowers. (For more on the structure of a fig fruit, see  this post.)

This tree is parent to many other 'Tigerbarks' that I have kept or sold. I have two rooted cuttings that I'm readying for sale now, and one of them has started throwing figs!

New figs developing on a rooted cutting of F. microcarpa 'Tigerbark.'
 There won't be viable seeds without the presence of the correct pollinating wasp. But I'm happy with the situation all the same!

(For more about my big 'Tigerbark' as parent to many others, see this post.)

:-)  :-)  :-)

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