Tropical Florida Gardens - What's in Bloom at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates?

Tropical Florida Gardens

What's in Bloom at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates?

Have you seen the flower of a ficus tree?

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On September 13th

You probably haven’t, but you’ve eaten one if you’ve eaten a fig!

The fruits of most ficus trees (like the Estates banyan) are called figs.  The fig is made up of stem tissue and the flowers of the tree are inside the fig.  All figs are pollinated by a female wasp that enters the fig through a tiny hole at the end of the fig.  Once inside, she lays her eggs and dies but the pollen she collected (from the fig she hatched in) is deposited on the flowers inside the fig.   Other wasps may also lay eggs inside the fig.  When the larvae hatch, the males mate with the females and then dig a tunnel through the fig for the females to exit.  The females have collected pollen during their time inside the fig and seek out another fig tree to deposit their eggs.  The pollinated figs will ripen and produce seeds, which are eaten by other animals and dispersed; thus, the cycle continues

Many figs can only be pollinated by one species of wasp.  For example, the strangler fig (Ficus aurea), a Florida native, can only be pollinated by Pegoscapus mexicanus.  Fig wasps are very small, about the size of a fruit fly, and most people will never see one.  They do not sting.  By the time a fig is ripe, the flowers inside have broken down and the crunchy parts you eat are the seeds of the fruit.

Britta Soderqvist, Plant Curator

6 Responses

  1. Kathleen Garry Says:

    enjoyed this entry!

    Posted on September 16th, 2010 at 10:48 am

  2. Edison & Ford Winter Estates Says:

    Thanks Kathleen! See you tomorrow! Britta

    Posted on September 16th, 2010 at 1:09 pm

  3. Garden Blog readers save 10% on Garden Shoppe items in September. | Tropical Gardens of the Edison & Ford Winter Estates Says:

    […] September, but only if you tell the cashier the phrase of the month.  In honor of all the falling figs at the Estates, this month’s phrase is, “It’s raining cats and figs out […]

    Posted on September 16th, 2010 at 1:44 pm

  4. Flower Alphabet - Page 45 - PPRuNe Forums Says:

    […] This is really fascinating – the flower is inside the […]

    Posted on April 17th, 2012 at 12:46 pm

  5. nayen kissoondhery Says:

    how can we determine in which fig there is flower?It’s really amazing.ireally want to discover theflower .

    Posted on January 26th, 2013 at 2:18 am

  6. Edison Ford Winter Estates Says:

    Hi Nayen,
    Fig trees traditionally have inconspicuous flowers and not very pretty. The flower then becomes enveloped in the fruit where it gets pollinated by a wasp. You can’t see any of this happening. Sorry! When you eat the fruit you eat it all.
    Debbie Hughes, Senior Horticulturist

    Posted on March 19th, 2013 at 4:22 pm