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Ficus.

Major entries:
Ficus carica Linn. Fig.
Ficus glomerata Roxb.

Ficus aspera Forst. f. Fig. Urticaceae. Tongue Fig.

Islands of New Hebrides. This is a tropical species of fig whose fruit may be eaten.

Ficus benghalensis Linn. Banyan.

East Indies and African tropics. The sweetish fruit of the banyan is eaten in India in times of scarcity.

Ficus brassii R. Br.

A shrub of Sierra Leone. It bears an edible fruit about as large as that of the white Ischia fig.

Ficus carica Linn. Fig.

Europe, Orient and Africa. The fig is indigenous, says linger, in Syria, Persia, Asia Minor, Greece and north Africa and has been cultivated in these countries from time immemorial and even as far as southern Germany. The fig had its place as a fruit tree in the garden of Alcinous. According to one Grecian tradition, Dionysius Sycetes was the discoverer of the fig tree; according to another, Demeter brought the first fig tree to Greece; a third tradition states that the fig tree grew up from the thunderbolt of Jupiter. The fig is mentioned by Athenaeus, Columella and Macrobius, and six varieties were known in Italy in the time of Cato. Pliny enumerates 29 sorts in his time. At the present time, no less than 40 varieties are enumerated for Sicily by Dr. Presl. The fig tree is enumerated among the fruit trees of Charlemagne. It was carried to England in 1525 or 1548 by Cardinal Pole. Cortez carried the fig tree to Mexico in 1560, and figs are mentioned as cultivated in Virginia in 1669 and were observed growing out of the ruins of Frederica, Georgia, by Wm. Bartram, about 1773, and at Pearl Island near New Orleans. Downing describes 15 varieties as the most desirable sorts for this country and says the fig reached here in 1790.

Ficus cooperi Hort.

Tropical America. The purple fruit, at the Department of Agriculture Conservatory, February 16, 1880, was edible but was not very attractive.

Ficus cunia Buch.-Ham.

Tropical Asia. The fruit is eaten.

Ficus erecta Thunb.

Himalayas, China and Japan. In Japan, the small figs are sometimes eaten.

Ficus forskalaei Vahl.

Tropical Arabia. The fruit is not agreeable but is eaten.

Ficus glomerata Roxb.

A large tree of tropical eastern Asia. The ripe fruit is eaten. In times of scarcity, the unripe fruit is pounded, mixed with flour and made into cakes. In the Konckans, the natives sometimes eat the fruit which outwardly resembles the common fig. The fruit is edible but insipid and is usually found full of insects. In Cebu, in times of drought, the inhabitants have no other resources for water than cutting the root.

Ficus granatum Forst. f.

New Hebrides. A tropical species with fruit that is eaten.

Ficus heterophylla Linn. f.

Tropical Asia. The fruit is eaten by the natives of India.

Ficus hirta Vahl.

Tropical Asia and Malay. The fruit is eaten by the natives of India.

Ficus infectoria Roxb.

Tropical Asia and Malay. The fruit, in racemes, is nearly round, of a reddish color when ripe, and about the size of a small plum. It is eaten by the common people.

Ficus palmata Forsk.

Tropical Asia, Arabia and East Indies. In the hills of India, this fig is eaten largely and is succulent, sweet and pleasant.

Ficus persica Boiss.

A shrub found wild about Shiraz, Persia. The fruit is edible but not very palatable.

Ficus religiosa Linn. Peepul. Sacred Fig.

East Indies. In central India, the young leaf-buds are eaten as a vegetable by the Hill Tribes in times of scarcity.

Ficus roxburghii Wall.

Burma and Himalayan regions. The fruit is eaten by the natives in their curries.

Ficus rumphii Blume.

Himalayan regions and Malay. This is a large tree cultivated in the Darrang district of Assam for rearing the lakh insect. The fruit is eaten.

Ficus sur Forsk.

Mountains of Yemen. The fruit is edible.

Ficus sycomorus Linn. Asses Fig. Sycomore.

North Africa. The fruit is somewhat aromatic and is brought to the markets at Cairo and is eaten throughout the entire East. The figs are sweet and delicate. They were selected by the ancient Egyptians as the fruit given by the goddess Netpe to those who were worthy of admission to the regions of eternal happiness.


Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World, 1919, was edited by U. P. Hedrick.



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