Fig Seedlings- Controlled Cross


Hopefully I can simplify what happens with fig breeding and that will clear it up.

So, common figs are persistent because they carry the gene “P”, it is the same for persistent caprifigs, they have the gene “P” in their DNA. It is a dominant gene, so figs need only one “P” in order to be persistent, in fact, no fig can have “PP” because when the seed embryo has a P it kills the seed, only the pollen parent can pass the gene “P” to the offspring. The other gene is just called “+”, Smyrnas have 2 of them: “++” and common figs/persistent caprifigs have one along with their gene for persistence: “P+”. So to get common/persistent females you must use a persistent male “P+” as their father, if not and you use a caprifig that does not have the gene it means none of the seedlings will either, they will all be “++”. Smyrna figs/caprifigs are called homozygous because they have 2 of the same genes that result in dropping figs that are not pollinated “++”, Common figs/persistent caprifigs are heterozygous because they have one gene for persistence (that is dominant) and one for dropping fruit “P+”, homo means the same; hetero means different, zygous just means it has to do with genetics

Herman2 was talking about how Condit initially worked with Gillette as the pollen parent but switched to a different one because there is very little pollen in Gillette’s stamens.


Thank you! I get very confused when experts explain things in a way, like only experts are going to pay any attention.


I gave the tree the name Gillette (MWamsley), because someone with the user name found a tree on the side of the road at an out of business nursery, no one told him what it is because there was no one to ask, he took lots of cuttings off the tree because he knew that they’d destroy the tree soon and he was right, he thought it was a Gillette, his username was MWamsley on F4F.

He took photos of the tree with fruit on it, before collecting the cuttings, the cuttings all came directly from the same tree, and he made no profit. He did not even keep anything from the tree for his self. The odd thing is that the figs looked large in those photos, yet as far as I know everyone has gotten only small figs from their trees. I do not recall how large the leaves looked in the photos he took, I will have to look again.

As far as our Croisic, when it fruits I will keep you updated on the fruit. So you are not seeing any stamens in the figs that your Gillette is producing? If so I am wondering if with age maybe that could change? Figs on fig trees in general do get better as the tree ages for a while.


A clarification, I have not tried pollinating any of our fig trees and we have no fig wasp, just the same I have seen stamens in the figs of our Gillette (MWamsley) (breba crop, only crop we have seen from it). I do not recall if I had seen them from the first time of cropping or not, I have done a lot of research in to Croisic which also got me curious about pollinating them and the science behind that. My interest in Gillette started because of a false claim that a fig tree in Malta was the same thing as Gillette, not even close to the same as Gillette.


That is probably just an age/size issue, older trees produce larger figs.

I don’t have it anymore, it was labeled Vashon from Jon. It did have stamens, but no detectable pollen on the anthers. I hope you try pollinating other figs with it, it may be that I missed the ripe point of the stamens or made some other mistake.


I am going to try and contact the person who provided the Gillette (MWamsley) cuttings because I remember a few of the facts wrong, he stated that the figs were a large size, the photos he shared the figs looked medium sized and far from ripe unless he shared some other photos that are gone now, also I’d like to see if he ever took photos of the tree in which the trees fruit were more developed, even in December of that year he was still showing the June photos.

I am going to one day try looking for pollen on all the edible caprifigs that I have access too, growing myself or not. I am recalling that before I took any real interest in fig tree pollination I had opened an aborted fig from our Gillette (MWamsley) and it had something in it that looked a little powdery. Yet it was a long time ago and I did not think much about the powdery look then, nor do I recall how early it aborted.

Back to your Gillette, how sweet were the figs from that Gillette tree? They are supposed to be sweet like candy, roasted marshmallows, when they are fully ripe, to give you an idea.


To be honest I didn’t care for it and didn’t even try most of the figs it ripened.


Well Croisic figs have to be very ripe to be worth eating fresh, more ripe than a lot of people would dare pick the fruit. It’s not one of those figs you can pick a day or two early unless you are making fig jam with them.

in France, in the Areas it grows, it’s the favorite fig of the kids there, because it’s just like eating candy, very sweet, people who do not know what roasted marshmallows are like sometimes compare the figs to coconut.


Here’s my kind of fig Alan…

Pollinated Barnisotte

I was just telling @Ahmad the other day that I wasn’t sure if hand pollination was worth it… I’m really reconsidering that idea today. These ripened earlier and faster than normal, the flowers that got pollinated are darker red and the one pictured had the most viable seeds out of 3 and also the most syrup.

I had maybe 10% of figs drop without ripening after pollination, and maybe another 10-20% that had some spoilage from yeast being introduced. So it is still a risky business, but pollination really benefits some varieties and could also help figs that set late ripen before frost so I will keep at it.


Great looking fig, I have heard things, you left one thing out some varieties of figs. they fruit bigger with pollination VS no pollination. Once Jon said that some varieties are effected negatively by pollination, and that there is no benefit to pollinating those varieties, he made it obvious that Black Madeira has horrible fruit when pollinated, he used that variety as an example.

The thought of putting a hole in a fig makes me worry because here insects chew the eye of the fruit away as it is, at least bees do. Then other insects get in, usually ants. This year has been the year with the least pest problems for us so far, unfortunately the crops on most of our fig trees were delayed 5 or more weeks, so we’d be lucky to get as many figs as last year despite each of our fig trees producing more figs this year, and despite less pest problems.

We have two of these

pointed at the area with most of our fig trees, it does help some, yet bees, wasps, and birds still mange to do damage. I think that it’s keeping away the squirrels and the desert tortoises. Both love our figs. It’s amazing that despite all the pest problems we had last year we still had over 100 fruit, with only two trees producing a lot, one more so than the other


Wow beautiful fig


Did I read that right, desert tortoises? Guessing they are pets but maybe not your’s since you lumped them in with the pests :wink:

One thing I noticed when experimenting with puffing the pollen in was that they eye actually opens and closes a little at seemingly just the right time. I had read that before, I think, but didn’t really notice it when using the twig. To puff the pollen in I made a very small pipette by melting a thin plastic tube and stretching it out, so it was rather flimsy and was not able to actually poke through or damage the fig at all if it was too early and the eye had not opened or too late and the eye had closed. So I think there is still room for improvement with hand pollination, people will probably never be as good at it as the wasp but maybe good enough to get the job done.


Had another from this seedling, it is a really nice fig, too late ripening to plant in the ground though I think. This one is pollinated so ripened a bit earlier than the rest.

Named it Sugar Magnolia.


Another first fig, this one is also much like the mother.



First ripe fig from this one.


Dug up an unproductive seedling with a nice trunk and put it in a 15 gallon SIP, will graft in the spring if it survives the winter… I haven’t had good very good luck with digging in the fall though.


So how long does a seedling take to become productive? I had a volunteer pop up the summer of 2016, so it’s just 2 years old now and it has 4 main trunks that are about 5-6 feet tall. One trunk has grown so fast its started to lean over and I had to stake it to keep it upright. No sign of figs forming yet. I know that the chances are slim that it will produce usable fruit, but fingers crossed…


If it is a caprifig the first fruit buds you will probably see are going to be near the tips when it starts going dormant. I’d think about getting rid of the trunks that grew this year, they are going to smother the oldest trunk.

Each seedling is different, seedling #2 died back to the ground last winter and started setting figs at every node on some growths at about the 20th leaf so really seems precocious, but cuttings of #2 that grew to 6ft.+ in their first year didn’t set any fruit… So I really don’t know what is going on, the cuttings should have been less juvenile than the regrowth because they were farther from the roots so it might have been the larger rootmass of the mother, or the cuttings reverted back to being juvenile or something.


Thank you! I’d prefer to keep the bushy form so that I can keep the tree smaller. It’s partway up a slope, so picking any fruit would be difficult if it became too tall. I’ll have to think about this one for a bit.


I’ve been spitting this one out for most of the year because it has a strong bitterness that is very disagreeable. The flavor kind of haunted me each time though with an aftertaste and I still can’t describe it well, but after the intensity faded it was kind of pleasant. So I dehydrated a few and the bitterness went away, to me the best overall description of the dried figs would be “french toast”. I know that sounds crazy, but 2 other people tried them and they both said they tasted good and when I asked if they tasted cinnamon they both said yes, and one said it smelled like butter before I told him what I thought it tasted like. It is a large fig and seems very precocious so I will keep it.

Naming it Althea.


Here is #12

Similar strong flavor as Althea, not as precocious unfortunately, but I propagated several plants of it already into compost socks so I will try to give it a fair shake.

I’m still wondering why there are not more Smyrna types. Even the caprifig I thought was a Smyrna might not be, that section of trees had anthracnose very bad due to overgrowth but I didn’t realize that until later in the season. I’m happy, and I feel lucky… but I always seem to end up in a position of contradicting what is “known” about fig trees and that is sort of uncomfortable.