Fig Seedlings- Controlled Cross


Here is the fruit marked 7 above, not all the way ripe so no judgement on taste. Seems to be earlier than average though…

Unprotected seedling showing only minor damage from 20f. night, protected last winter so the trunk is 2nd year, but even the suckers are less damaged than all of the named varieties planted nearby. It dropped almost all leaves naturally, a good sign.

Seedlings under 3 layers of row cover are mostly undamaged.


So… although many trees started the year with breba/profichi buds only 4 held them for any amount of time (nearly all breba aborted early spring on all other trees here). One has been dropping and must need pollination, one only has a single breba and the growth pattern suggests it is a female fig. One of the other 2 has about 20 still holding with no sign of dropping, and the last has about 3 and the first of those is ripening now, with what look like male flowers poking out the eye. So it looks like I will get to make some more crosses this season. Will pollinate Etna types, Florea, backcross to Gludi, Barnisotte, LdA, LSU Tiger, Abique Petite, and maybe RdB, Verte and I 258…


Cool project. Looking forward to updates.


Thanks for the update! My volunteer fig is going on 2+ years and doesn’t show signs of producing any fruit this year. This gives me hope that I could get something useful out of it other than a good host for grafting.


So the first profichi has ripened, not juicy at all, still went ahead and pollinated a couple figs of several varieties. Not really sure if the female flowers have long or short styles, will try and figure that one out and hopefully get some more clues elsewhere.

Edit: Named “Jack Straw”

Here’s a visual of how to pollinate with a twig and stamen. I just poke into the eye of a dime sized fig with a cherry twig first to clear the way, then hold a stamen in front of the eye and push the anthers inside. It may or may not help to flick the fig around a little afterwards…


At this point you are probably battling the shy bearing habit that affects varieties like Mission, but seedlings have extra vigor. I believe in that case what brings on figs is a mature growth habit with lateral branches.

Here is one making figs while still under 4 ft… Although the internode spacing is tight because it was in a container for 2 years, so leaf count per foot is higher than the ones planted when still babies.


Got 2 ripe caprifigs from the other one, still dry, was able to see that the styles are short in comparison to female figs. I thought the father might have been an edible caprifig, but now looking at the pictures again it does appear to have short styled female flowers even though they are juicy and had much more weight.

Will dry some pollen for alternative pollination experiments.

Edit: Named “The Other One”

I’m more inclined to use this one since I like red interiors and it is more productive, but what do you guys think, is that purple in the rind on the first one appealing at all?


I liked the red one better.


I like the red one also, but it would be interesting to see what
the purple would look like and taste.


I was thinking the same, I left another to ripen more and the center did turn light red and the purple got much darker.

I’m no geneticist, but since neither parent displayed purple in the rind it is probably a recessive trait. So a backcross to Gludi should yield 50% purple rinds if things are simple like that, I may or may not have made that cross.


17b ripened a couple figs, there has been 4" of rain in the past 3 days so I think it did OK compared to others. Had some of that weird unripe RdB flavor I don’t really care for, but seems to be a decent tree that is much like Gludi with a darker center, thick skin, large, syrupy, closed eye. Bugs were all over it but didn’t manage to get very far. Named “Box of Rain”.


This is awesome!


I forget all the details yet edible caprifigs like “Gillette” should have at least two crops with pollen

  1. The profichi crop (First, breba crop)
  2. The mammoni crop (Second crop, main crop)

Did you check both crops?


I don’t know about the main crop on Gillette, mine never made any. Does yours make a main crop with stamens? Have you tried pollinating other figs with it?


Edible carpifigs like normal carpifigs are male, well in a way they are, edible carpifigs have a persistent breba crop.

With an edible caprifig the female flowers for it’s breba crop are fully developed and fully functional, they too of course have fully functional male flowers as does the regular carpifigs so in a sense the flowers of the breba crop they pollinate each other. The main crop of an edible caprifig is often a normal caprifig, if pollinated still can be inedible to humans, regardless they usually do not abort and can be food for insects, pests, and sometimes even fed to live stock if inedible to humans, yet some varieties of edible caprifigs do have an edible main crop that can be eaten fresh by people.

Unlike the edible caprifig, normal carpifigs despite having both male and female flowers can not be pollinated successfully, due to the female flowers not being fully developed.

Based upon what I have learned about Gillette through my research on them I believe that there is only a second crop if the first crop is pollinated by the pollen of another fig variety (maybe somewhat of a pollen incompatibly?), if a Gillette fig tree produces a second crop then most if not all of the second crop figs should stay on the tree until ripe, edible or not.

I am sure that you have heard about Kiwibob at one point or another, he’s an expert of Gillette growing in the PNW, he says that the second crop of the Gillette variety fully ripens in the warmer parts of the PNW because the cooler parts of the PNW has too short of a season for them to fully ripen. I will message you his photos for the fruit from his Gillette, since they are his photos, those are the best photos of the Gillette fruit that I have ever seen (first crop of course), I see stamens on the fruit in those photos, yet they are a little blurry and a little hard to see.

I have a real Croisic (aka Gillette) yet it has not produced yet due to frost and beetle damage to the tree, yet last winter it showed way greater cold resistance and it’s supposed to be more cold resistant in our climate than it was last winter. Yet it’s only been in the ground almost 4 seasons, and it’s looking much better this year than any other year despite the tree seeing it’s coldest winter ever last winter, so I am not worried.

I also have Gillette (MWamsley) which I am very doubtful, strongly doubtful that it’s really Gillette, although there are a lot of similarities between it and Gillette, I see way too many differences, unless 8 years and 4 months later it’s still refusing to act like it should unlike our Croisic that from the start was exactly like Gillette is supposed to be, well our Croisic has not fruited yet, yet everything else has been proven to be just the way it should be!

As far as the Gillette (MWamsley) follow the following link, that and the 2 posts under that post all have great enlarged photos of the fruit from our Gillette (MWamsley), you can see the stamens in the photos of the first and of the 3rd post, especially in the 3rd post, our Gillette (MWamsley) has never even started producing a second crop.


In most other plants the male flowers ripen and drop pollen at the same time as the female flowers are receptive, but with figs the first crop pollinates the second. It has to be that way because of the wasp, if figs wanted to self pollinate they would not have co-evolved with fig wasps for ~100 million years.

Caprifigs produce seeds, the only difference between edible caprifigs and normal caprifigs I can think of is that the wasp cannot lay eggs in the female flowers of edible caprifigs, or else they would not be edible in CA. Some wild populations of figs are mostly males because when a caprifig pollinates another caprifig it only produces 25% females instead of 50%, and 25% of the males will have 2 male genes instead of just one so those will only produce male offspring whether the seed or pollen parent.

Brebas cannot be pollinated because the mammoni crop does not have stamens, Calimyrna growers would love to find a caprifig that produces stamens in all crops because every year their breba crop drops.

Different trees of the same variety might make figs 2x as large, 2x as many, weeks earlier, survive winter better, etc. Tough to know what traits are stable and which are circumstance when looking for advantages between different strains or sources of a variety.


I am making sure that you understand what I mean, each breba fig pollinates it’s self by producing pollen at just the right time for the female flower within the same fig.


That is not possible, by the time the male flowers are ripe and producing pollen the female flowers are finished. The profichi pollinates the main crop, and that is it. Even fig species that produce pollen in every fig always pollinate the next crop, it has to be that way with all figs because of the wasp.


So the breba crop of an edible caprifig needs manual or fig wasp pollination to have the second crop? That being why they only attempt to make any second crop figs in areas with the fig wasp?


Do you understand what Harvey said in post #42 under CORRECTION 2/19:? I am very confused

PS here is something that Herman2 wrote on the old gardenweb website:
“In order to obtain common fig female plants one has to use ,pollen from a persistent caprifig,and that is not easy. Because Persistent C,have very little pollen and is difficult to harvest pollen from them artificially.”

The following link is too complicated for me, sounds like it’s saying that for a persistent edible caprifig to successfully pollinate it can’t have a certain DNA trait called homozygous?