The Fig is a small fruit tree native to Asia Minor, but now cultivated in all the countries adjacent to the Mediterranean. About 300 known species are recognized, most of which are characterized by large leaves. Some are trailing vines and others are great trees. The average height of the fig tree grown for its fruit is about twenty feet. In favorable climates it produces two crops of figs yearly, in the spring and autumn. The fruit is a fleshy receptacle Of a conical form. It is attached to the twig by the narrow end. At the larger end is a small opening as in a pear, the flower and seeds lining the interior.The fig is used as food and is employed in medi- cine as a demulcent and laxative. In a fresh state for table use it can be transported onlya short distance, hence it is dried extensivelyand packed in boxes for the market. Dried figs form an important article of commerce, the best grade being imported from Turkey and the Levant. However, the culture of the fig has been extended very largely the past few.decades, especially in Australia and California,where the quality of the fruit is thought to be equal to that of Smyrna.

Herbal Encyclopedia