Ira Condit's opinion of various figs

Ira Condit, 1955 monograph, p. 336

(Croisic) Profichi medium or above, up to 1-3/4 inches in diameter, pyriform with distinct neck; ribs prominent, with surface often somewhat corrugated; eye fairly large, with yellowish-green scales; color greenish yellow; interior white; edible pulp insipid, lacking in sugar; staminate flowers few, generally lacking in pollen.

This seems to contradict the account by W. Storey, 1975 (Figs, in Advances in Fruit Breeding, ed. Janick & Moore). Note that in 1968 Storey succeeded Condit as director of the UC breeding program.

(p.581) The several caprifigs used for breeding today are types with persistent syconia which trace their pedigrees back to Croisic, …

and later on p.585 Storey gives the pedigree of UCR 271-1 (Saleeb) as

Beall x {Conadria x (Monstreuse x Croisic)}

However, the breeding records of Saleeb from the UC Kearney Ag center list it as

Beall x | 228-20 {Adriatic x [Verdal Longue x (Calimyrna x Kearney)]} x {[Monstreuse x (Calimyrna x Kearney)]}

Looking at the UC breeding program as a whole, Kearney played a dominant role as caprifig but there are 3 openings for un-named males in the parents of Excel, of Flanders, and in the great-grandparent of T30E. Other than that, Storey’s account of the UC breeding program appears fanciful.

Col De Dame.

It is widely distributed in southern France, and especially in Spain where, as Mazières (1920) stated, it probably originated. On Mallorca the figs, both fresh and dried, are used for hog feed, and at Palma the fresh fruit is common in the markets. It has long been grown for drying at Fraga, and at Barcelona the fresh figs are used for preserves.

At Fresno, Col de Dame is inferior to Adriatic (Verdone) for drying, on account of poorer production of the tree, smaller size of fruit, and darker color of pulp. At Riverside the figs are subject to spoilage, owing to insect infestation and splitting.

Flavor sweet, but insipid; quality fair; season late.

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Du Roi.

Du Roi is a good example of a variety which was once tested and received high praise, but failed to become established.

It was included in the ‘Chiswick collection’ from [England] and tested widely by the California Experiment Stations. Shinn reported in 1893 and 1903 that Du Roi was considered the highest-flavored fig grown, especially in the foothills of the San Joaquin Valley … Eisen regarded it as one
of the very best figs, and stated: “It cannot be too highly recommended, and will no doubt become one of the most extensively grown figs in California and Arizona.”

In spite of its early promise, Du Roi has apparently been lost completely from collections of fig varieties in Georgia and California.

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Ischia Yellow.

Described by Miller (1768); his account is closely followed by most of the same authors listed for Ischia Brown, with the exception of Eisen. Ischia Yellow is one of the Ischia figs, the identity of which has not been determined; and the variety has apparently been discarded. The fruit was reported to be large, pyramidal, yellow in color; pulp dark red.


The descriptions of this variety by Tournefort, and by several later authors, definitely refer to the interior of this fig as rosy or red, a character which differentiates it from Marseillaise White [aka White Marseilles], described by Eisen (1901).

But does it exist in other countries? Sounds wonderful.

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I’ve no idea.

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Pissalutto, aka Pissalutto Bianco.

Described by Gallesio (1817) as the same variety listed by Columella (C.E. 49-50) and Pliny (C.E. 75) as “ficus liviana,” one of the best figs of the Roman Era, an identification which Eisen (1901) considered highly doubtful.

San Pietro.

In 1926, cuttings of San Pietro were obtained from the late Leroy Nickel, of Menlo Park. These were grown first at Fresno, and since 1932, in the collection of varieties at Riverside. It was such a satisfactory variety at Menlo Park that “it almost stopped the quest for a better fig” (according to the gardener, Theodore Woolley), producing two crops of excellent figs, both under glass and out of doors.

Breba crop [production] fair; figs large, up to 2 inches in diameter and 2-3/4 inches in length, oblique-pyriform, with prominent neck; stalk short; eye medium, open; white flecks large, scattered; surface dull; ribs few, only slightly elevated; color light green; meat thin, tinged with violet; pulp dark strawberry; flavor rich, sweet; quality good.

Second-crop figs large, up to 2-1/4 inches broad and 3 inches long, turbinate, mostly without neck, or neck present and gradually narrowed from body to stalk; average weight 73 grams; stalk short; ribs branched, slightly elevated; apex broad, flattened; eye above medium, open, scales chaffy or pink, with scarious margins; white flecks few, large, widely spaced; color yellowish green; pulp light strawberry, hollow; flavor fairly rich. Quality mediocre; dried color poor.

Caprified specimens have dark-strawberry, solid pulp, with large seeds; average weight 88 grams. Recommended for trial in coastal sections of California only.

Condit’s opinion of the main crop is likely due to appearance, not flavor.


… In the vicinity of Naples this variety is extensively cultivated, and is highly esteemed for its production of fruit over a long season in late summer and fall. … A variety found growing on Smith Island, near Crisfield, Maryland, and grown in the California collection under the name Smith Island Lemon, has proved to be practically identical with Troiano.

Ischia Green.

As early as 1832, the William Kenrick Nursery, Newton, Massachusetts, offered for sale trees of Green Ischia at one dollar each. In 1894, Ischia Green was included in the Chiswick collection as P.I. No. 18,856. It has long been grown in the southern United States, but on account of confusion with Ischia White, reports on its behavior must be carefully evaluated. However, the variety has certainly not been nearly so well regarded or extensively planted as have Brown Turkey, Celeste (Malta), or Brunswick. A small commercial planting is on the place of Stoughton Sterling, Crisfield, Maryland. Two trees have been located in California dooryards; one in the yard of C. W. Gates, 128 Fey Drive, Burlingame; the other on the place of John Kruttschnitt, San Mateo. Ischia Green has been received and tested at Riverside with material from the following localities: Crisfield, Maryland; Sherman, Angleton, and San Antonio, Texas.


Described by Grasovsky and Weitz (1932) as a large, round, green fig of good quality, grown in Jenin, Palestine.

Osborn’s Prolific.

According to Bunyard (1925), this variety was introduced into England in 1878-1879 by Messrs. Osborn, of Fulham, and was designated Osborn’s Prolific on account of the productiveness of the trees.

In the collection of varieties at Riverside, Archipel, obtained from Angleton, Texas, as P.I. No. 18,835, has proved to be identical with Osborn’s Prolific.

Breba crop good.


Described by Eisen (1901) as a very productive and handsome French fig of exquisite quality; fruit medium, oblong-turbinate; skin red; pulp white.

Rust’s Osborn Prolific.

The Edward H. Rust Nurseries, Pasadena, California, obtained some fig cuttings from a tree peddler who said that the variety was originally from England. The nursery propagated the material, and eventually distributed it under the name Osborn Prolific. Trees have been located in a few dooryards at Arcadia, San Gabriel, and Pasadena, and scions have fruited at Riverside since 1950. Brebas are seldom produced. The main crop, however, ripens over a long season, and is highly regarded for fresh-fruit consumption.


Barnissotte is widely grown in Italy, in southern France, and in parts of Spain and Portugal; … according to Gallesio (1817), it is the same variety described by Pliny and other Roman writers as “Fico Africano”.

In Pliny’s Natural History, Book XV, chapter XX.

But the variety which even in his day Cato termed the African fig reminds us of his having employed that fruit for a remarkable demonstration. … on a certain occasion he brought into the house [Senate] an early ripe fig from Carthage, and displaying it to the Fathers he said, “I put it to you, when do you think this fruit was plucked from the tree?” Everyone agreed that it was quite fresh; so he said, “O well, it was picked the day before yesterday at Carthage – so near the enemy is to our walls!” And they promptly embarked on the third Punic war, and Carthage was brought down.

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According to Vallese(1909), Dottato is known as Napoletano at Corigliano d’Otranto, Lumincella at Francavilla, and Biancolella or Nardeleo at Oria and near Brindisi.


Three varieties imported from England with the Chiswick collection, P.I. No. 18,875 as Biberaeo, No. 18,896 as Gouraud Noir, and No. 18,868 as Reculver, also produce fruit like that of the Franciscana [Black Mission]. The first two are described by Eisen as distinct varieties, but the characters listed by him coincide almost exactly with those of the Franciscana. According to E. A. Bunyard (1925), the name Reculver comes from Reculver, Kent, England, where this fig was introduced by the Romans.

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About 1909, Eisen identified the “Mission” as Franciscana, of Spain, but the exact reference to his publication has not been located. In 1925, Condit wrote, after personal observations in Spain: “The Franciscana is a black fig commonly grown at Estepona, over sixty miles below Málaga, on the coast. Dried figs of this variety seen at Motril appeared to be identical to the California Mission.”