Sliced figs with rice flour
The common fig (Ficus carica) is a species of flowering plant in the genus Ficus, native to the Middle East and western Asia. Having been cultivated for thousands of years, they are thought to be the first known instance of agriculture (subfossil figs dated about 9000 BC were found in a Neolithic village in the Jordan Valley).
Although known as a fruit, the fig is actually the infructescence or an ‘ingrowing’ flower of the tree, the small orifice in the middle of the fruit allows the specialized fig wasp to enter the fruit and pollinate the flower.
It grows wild in dry and sunny areas, with deep and fresh soil; also in rocky areas, from sea level to 1,700 meters. It prefers light and medium soils, requires well-drained soil, and can tolerate seasonal drought (by virtue of its aggressive root system), so the Middle Eastern and Mediterranean climate is particularly suitable for the plant.
- The fruits were used by the Romans, among other things, to fatten geese for the production of a precursor of foie gras.
- In the 16th century, Cardinal Reginald Pole introduced fig trees to Lambeth Palace in London.