Ficus carica is an Asian flowering plant, better known as the common fig. It is a deciduous tree or large shrub with smooth white bark, growing to a height of seven to ten metres. The common fig has been cultivated since ancient times and grows wild in dry and sunny areas, from sea level to 1,700 meters. It can grow in nutritionally poor soil and tolerates seasonal drought. The Middle Eastern and Mediterranean climates are especially suitable for the plant.

Common figs have no blossoms on their branches; the flowers are inverted and actually develop inside the fruit, which is also called fig. The crunchy little seeds inside the fig, which give them their unique texture, are in fact the flowers. Figs are three to five centimetres long, with colours differing from one cultivar to another. Fig trees bear several hundreds of fruits twice a year.

Figs are rather dry and have a sweet taste. They can be eaten fresh or dried and are often candied or used in jam making. Most commercial production is in dried or otherwise processed forms, since the ripe fruit does not transport well, and once picked does not keep well. The widely produced fig newton or fig roll is a biscuit with a filling made from figs.

Fig fruit is low in calories. A hundred grams fresh fruits provide only 74 calories. Fresh figs contain adequate levels of some of the anti-oxidant vitamins such as vitamin A, E, and K. Dried figs are an excellent source of vitamins, anti-oxidants and minerals like calcium, copper, potassium, manganese, iron, selenium and zinc. 


There are over a hundred and fifty different varieties of figs. Among the most well-known are:

  • Black Mission, with a blackish-purple skin and pink coloured flesh
  • Brown Turkey, with a purple skin and red flesh
  • Kadota, with a green skin and purplish flesh
  • Calimyrna, with a greenish-yellow skin and amber flesh


Size    Figs per kilogram

1         36-40

2          41-45

3          46-50

4          51-55

5          56-60

6          61-65

7          66-70

8          71-80

9          81-90

10         90+


Figs are often dried and may be sold as wholes or diced.

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Proximates Units
Energy kcal 249
Protein g 3,3
Carbohydrate g 63,87
Fiber g 9,8

Total fat g 0,93
Saturated fat g 0,144
Monounsaturated fat g 0,159
Polyunsaturated fat g 0,345
Cholesterol mg 0

Calcium mg 162
Iron mg 2,03
Magnesium mg 68
Phosphorus mg 67
Potassium mg 680
Sodium mg 10
Selenium mcg 0,6

Vitamin A IU 10
Vitamin B6 mg 0,106
Vitamin C mg 1,2
Vitamin E mg 0,35
Vitamin K mcg 15,6
Carotene, beta mcg 6
Carotene, alpha mcg 0
Cryptoxanthin, beta mcg 0
Lutein + zeanxanthin mcg 32
* Figs are dried, uncooked.
"Source: USDA National Nutrient Database
for Standard Reference, Release 26 (2013)"
g = gram; mg = miligram ; mcg = microgram; IU = International Units


Figs are mainly produced in Turkey, Iran, USA, Greece, Spain and Italy.

The fig fruit tree is native to the temperate climate of Asia Minor or Turkey. Today, it is grown as an important fruit of commerce in the eastern Mediterranean region, USA and Spain.


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