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The Shape of Fig Fruits - Why it's so Important for Higher Fruit Quality

Updated: Jan 25

In this blog post, we will be delving deeper into the topic of split resistance in figs, and why it is such an important characteristic for many fig growers. We will discuss the causes of splitting in figs, and the ways in which growers can prevent it by considering the shape of the fig variety, as well as the way the fig hangs during ripening.

We will also explore the different shapes of fig varieties and how they can affect split resistance, drawing on expert resources such as Monserrat Pons' book "Fig Trees of the Balearic Islands" and Condit's Monograph. Additionally, we will discuss the role of the skin and the angle at which the fig swells, in determining split resistance. Overall, this post will provide valuable insights for fig growers looking to improve the quality of their crops.
Key Takeaways:
  1. Split resistance is an important characteristic for fig growers as it prevents the interior of the fig from being exposed to outside elements and spoiling.

  2. The shape of the fig variety and the way the fig hangs during ripening can greatly impact split resistance. Growers should choose varieties that have a shape that sheds water well and ripen at the right angle.

  3. The skin's elasticity and firmness, as well as the length of the stem and neck, can also play a role in determining split resistance. It's important for growers to consider these factors when selecting fig varieties.

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How splitting affects fruit quality:

In regard to my previous blog post on fruit quality found here, I elaborate on why split resistance is such an important characteristic for so many fig growers. When the interior of the fig is exposed to the outside elements, it doesn't take much to spoil the fig. Keeping the outer shell of the fig intact and crack and split free is the best way to prevent this. Unfortunately for many growers splitting happens too frequently and especially at the eye. This is where the fig is most susceptible.

Why do figs split?

Splitting is frequently caused by too much moisture in the soil, but it also can be caused by the fruits themselves absorbing moisture after or during a rain event. That absorption causes the fruits to expand too quickly. Quick expansion leads to split fruits. Therefore any depression in the shape of the fruit is not ideal. At those locations, more moisture will be absorbed.

So growers need to start thinking about the shape of fig varieties when grown in humid places. As well as how exactly can the shape of the fig or the way the fig hangs during ripening shed water in a way to prevent absorption. Below you will see a drawing taken from Monserrat Pons' book, "Fig trees of the Balearic Islands."

The different shapes of figs and their names:

These are the 6 major shapes of fig varieties: Esferica, Cucurbiforme, Turbinado, Ovoidal, Piriforme & Urceolado. Of course, there are many variations and some even display fruits that can have a certain percentage of one shape and a certain percentage of another.