Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

fig Ficus carica, a fruit with many extraordinary features. The lifecycle of some sorts of fig depends on the efforts made by a tiny insect, the fig wasp, to reproduce itself: efforts which have a pathetic aspect, since they often fail in their main purpose, and lead to the production of more figs instead of more wasps.

In consumption as well as in generation, the fig is unusual. In the warm countries where it grows easily it is a cheap and staple food. Elsewhere fresh figs are a luxury and the fruit is better known in its dried form, whose characteristics are quite different.