Updated: Sep 4, 2022
I am so excited to have finally ripened fruit on my Texas BA-1 fig. The variety requires a lot of light to set the fruit buds like another difficult but worth it tree, Colonel Littman's Black Cross. These trees in my 7-8 hours of standard direct light is just not enough, but this year I finally got some to try.
The history of this fig is a bit unclear. It's said on Figs4Fun that Texas BA-1 is "a variety said to have been found on an unknown Texas A&M graduate student's abandoned test plot during the trials of Alma. Large and of good quality in the Gulf Coast states. May be less hardy than other varieties"
On Ediblelandscaping's website, this is their description: "sweetest of our collection. Hardy in 7 if protected from the wind. Space 10' circle. Ripens 2 weeks later than Hardy Chicago. Zone 7-8."
If you read other reports on this variety, Smith always comes up. Why? Because they're very similar figs. Some say that they're exactly the same, but those who I trust and who have grown these two varieties side by side for years say that they are not. I wanted to find out for myself and more importantly I wanted to find out if Michael McConkey from Ediblelandscaping.com is right. Will it survive in my zone 7A location? Because if a fig very similar to Smith can be considered hardy, we've got something. Smith is notorious as being one of the least hardy trees. And as many of you know, I've raved about Smith for years. It's truly one of the best fig varieties period.
I even talked about it recently in detail:
It turns out, my in ground tree has survived unprotected, but in a sheltered location and for 2 consecutive winters. To be safe, I think a 7B zone is more appropriate if you're not going to protect your tree.
As for the fruit itself, I saw this fig swelling on the branch and I couldn't help but think that it was Smith. If I had never heard of Texas BA-1 before, I never would have thought that it was different. I've picked hundreds of Smith figs and I can tell you that after observing it a bit more, I do see some slight differences. Those differences I'm sure with become a bit more clear in time. Regardless, the eating experience is every bit as good as Smith and this tree comes in a hardy, but higher sunlight requirement package. That's a real win in my book.
Watch this video review of Texas BA-1 to learn more: