Hivernenca is not just a variety, but a classification of varieties that boasts various names, making this category of fig varieties somewhat confusing. Numerous figs fall under this category, such as De La Senyora (Hivernenca), Lampiera 1, Can Planetes, De N’Amoros, Verdal Longue, Moro de Bou, Margalera, Coll de Dama Cuitat, Bergunya, Labritja & Ouriola.
What is a fig tree synonym?
A synonym in the world of fruit are varieties with different names, but they're pretty much identical.
To read about synonyms and to see a full list, check out this detailed article, here:
Unfortunately, there seems to be a lack of information regarding these figs, furthering the confusion and leading to an excessive amount of names. However, the distinctions between these varieties are subtle, but present, primarily due to epigenetic differences where figs, when grown in different locations, adapt to their environments over time, undergoing mutations.
For details on the growing characteristics of various Hivernenca strains, Pons' book or website is a comprehensive resource. Pons has extensively written about these varieties. He notes:
"La Hivernenca, Coll de dama Ciutat, De la Senyora, Margalera, and Morro de Bou are genetically equal as per dendogram. However, due to differences in molecular and agronomic traits such as maturation, size, and shape, they're considered distinct varieties. Notably, the DE LA SENYORA variety has multiple names, influenced by the morphological variability in the figs and, to a lesser extent, the foliage."
Regarding Coll de Dama Ciutat, Pons elaborates that "Though Estelrich was unfamiliar with this variety, it's sometimes labeled as Hivernenca, sharing its origin. Nonetheless, distinguishing features include its appearance, taste, ripening duration, and peduncle."
Pons also brings attention to the BERGUNYA variety, which originates from Banyalbufar. While Estelrich identifies Bergunya as a Hivernenca synonym because of their similarity, in Banyalbufar and surrounding regions, it stands out as distinct from Hivernenca. This is based on fruit and leaf descriptors, agronomical, and biological characteristics. For instance, Bergunya figs have a more pear-like shape, are lighter, display a tighter eye opening, and possess a thinner skin.
For collectors, the silver lining is that many might already possess this variety in their collection. It's worth mentioning the superior short hang time observed in DLS (H). Whether this attribute is consistent in the other varieties remains uncertain, but it's a significant factor in its commendation.
One distinct characteristic of the Hivernenca fig is its physical appearance: a somewhat elongated fig often showcasing cracks. As the figs mature, they transition from a green-yellow hue to a combination of brown, purple, and gray. This colorful transformation, combined with the cracking, offers a unique aesthetic.
History and Other Information
Hivernenca figs are globally renowned for their taste and are often commercially cultivated. Historically, these figs have thrived better in hotter, drier climates rather than milder Mediterranean regions. Although frequently found in Spain, these figs are less common in countries like England, France, and Germany due to less optimal growing conditions. Particularly, Hivernenca ripens too late when grown in mild locations.
Moreover, these figs are highly productive, often yielding fruit on nearly every tree node. The productivity is so substantial that sometimes the sheer weight of the fruits causes the branches to droop towards the ground, which is something I’ve noted in my Lampeira 1 tree this season.
Hivernenca figs are renowned for their distinctive taste and texture, reminiscent of the Coll de Damas and the berry flavor of Black Madeira. The flavor's intensity varies with the specific Hivernenca type and ripening conditions, but in ideal climates, they are among the best-tasting figs available.
Their notable characteristic is the quick ripening period, even in cooler fall weather. They are optimal between days 4 to 6, making them one of the few fig varieties that can be picked early and still taste ripe. Such rapid ripening ensures a yield of about 90-95% of the tree's crop, unlike other top varieties like BM, where only around 30% is typically harvested. In essence, given its flavor and ripening pattern, this fig rivals and surpasses Black Madeira when grown in humid climates.
To read up on some other varieties that can be harvested early and still retain a great flavor, check out the article I’ve written on the Adriatic figs and others, here:
Can Planetes (FdM) Fig Cuttings (3 Cuttings Per Order)
Why choosing the right fig variety matters
Choosing the right fig variety can make all the difference in so many positive or even negative ways. A variety that is well suited to your climate and taste preferences will ensure that your getting the fig experience that you deserve.
It's heartbreaking when you put years of work into a tree to finally realize that it's just not suited to your location because it will rarely produce high quality figs and in some cases, may never produce fruit that's even edible!
Fig varieties are very location specific because they're so highly subjected to their environment while they're ripening. Unlike many other fruits, the fig can be destroyed in its final ripening stage. It's a soft fruit that can absorb water into its skin causing cracking, splitting, mold & fermentation all because the inside of the fruit gets exposed to the outside elements of nature.
An apple has a hard covering. A persimmon has a hard covering. Berries and other soft fleshed fruits are also susceptible to bad weather conditions, but they have a short window of time in which they're soft and ready to be picked. Figs can be soft hanging on the tree for 5, 10 or even 15 days!
How to choose the right fig variety for your climate
When choosing a fig variety, it's important to consider the climate in your area during the winter, summer and fall.
Some fig varieties are more tolerant of cold weather and others can be grown in climates that have mild summers because of their reliable breba production or their early main crop harvest period.
Others are better suited for humid climates because they don't need to hang as long on the tree and they have a skin that acts like a waterproof jacket. The water just slides right off.
Others are better suited to warmer climates and have the ability to taste incredible even in 100-110F temperatures.
If you want fig variety recommendations, read through the description of each fig variety carefully, or better yet, don't be afraid to contact me. In your message, include your growing zone, location, annual rainfall, and how you want to grow them.
To read more about choosing the right fig variety, click here: