Fruit for Free

Something completely unrelated to sewing, for a change…

Screen shot 2015-01-31 at 8.50.34 AMOne day a week or so ago, I noticed that one of the mystery bushes in one of the neglected beds in my front yard had lots of tiny green fruit on it. They ranged from tiny pea size to large cherry size, and they ripened black.  I picked a ripe one, and it was soft, squishy and smelt yummy. I confess, I tried one. It was definitely fig-like.

Screen shot 2015-01-31 at 8.51.18 AMI went hunting in my reference books. No luck. The fruit was clearly a fig inside, and had the same tender skin as a fig, but the leaves were pointed, rough and slightly hairy, and thus all wrong for a fig tree. So once again, I consulted my local botanic garden, and they’ve come up trumps in record time again.

It’s a Sandpaper Fig or Sweet Fig, Ficus opposita. A genuine fig, edible, sweet and tasty, but one of the native species, which don’t have the deeply lobed leaves of the European and Asian cultivars. The fruit are small, but delicious. And best of all, there are loads of them all over the bush. Three or four each day are ripe enough to eat. I love how Nature in the tropics gives with both hands. Figs in the shops are a stupid price, and here I am getting them for nothing…

I wonder what the bush would do if I gave it lots of water and fertiliser? Because right now, it’s flourishing on total neglect!

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24 thoughts on “Fruit for Free

  1. figtree’s need poor soil to thrive, I have one in my garden and I have so many ripe figs each year that I turn them into jam but I always mix with other fruit : delicious !!!!

    • katechiconi says:

      I thought that might be so. I won’t be changing what I do! My bush isn’t very big yet, only about a metre high, and the fruits are much smaller than cultivated versions, so I don’t think there’ll be much jam. They’re very nice on my breakfast cereal, though!

      • figtree normally grow very fast….. and it is easy to make more bushes, cut a young shoot off, put it in the soil and water it well the first year and voilà, a new fig tree !!

      • katechiconi says:

        I think you can also scrape a little bark off a shoot near the ground, pin the branch down so the bare wood is touching the soil, and it will take root. You then cut it off the parent plant and pot it on, and you have another tree!

      • oh yes, that’s a possibility too, it is amazing what plants can do !!!

  2. EllaDee says:

    I found an interesting article – http://www.sgapqld.org.au/bushtucker3.html – apparently lucky you, it is a female Sandpaper Fig, the males are bigger and shadier but don’t fruit. I had similar thoughts to Gwennie, no TLC, natives thrive on plain living.

  3. Nanster says:

    I have upset many a perennial flower by trying to nurture it with fertilizer! They grew too fast, too tall, too heathy and fell over or produced too many flowers to hold themselves up ! Sometimes even too good is not so good. I say leave well enough alone !

  4. Wonderful bounty! I’ve one or two pot plants that thrive on neglect. Isn’t nature clever?

    • katechiconi says:

      Interesting that almost anything native can safely be left well alone, it’s the imports that need to be nurtured… You’re right, Nature knows what she’s doing.

  5. Carole says:

    Yum! I love figs, and those small ones sound delicious 🙂

  6. tialys says:

    Lucky you! We have several fig trees in our garden but I am the only human in our house that likes them. When they ripen I stand there gorging myself on them surrounded by three dogs and 7 chickens who all love them and wait for me to throw down the odd one that has signs of insect entry or has gone slightly too ‘jammy’.

  7. Kirsten says:

    We have a fig tree and it produces fruit but they never appear to ripen / turn that classic black colour. We don’t do anything to it. I’ve not been brave enough to try one. The fruit eventually fall off, still green and sometimes still quite firm. I guess it could be a green fig tree . . . ?

  8. rutigt says:

    Sounds delicious! Lucky you to have them and be able to eat them for free 🙂
    Gun

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