Ondata, my best overall fig

I thought I’d highlight a little known fig, Ondata, that I’ve rightly or wrongly label my best overall. I’ve fruited it for 3-4 years and haven’t been disappointed yet.

Ondata is from the collection of FDM. It is a large, beautiful, grayish to black fig on a healthy tree. Fruit tastes great and seems to maintain quality late into fall. The tree has moderate vigor and big broad leaves. At times it seems spreading and compact in growth habit. Fruit yield has been high and consistent.

Ondata has a tight eye and has not split when it is wet and humid. Notice the picture of other varieties with big eyes and split figs. In the same conditions, Ondata has a tight eye with no splitting. This might mean that it’s a good fig for humid rainy climates. But to date I haven’t heard reports from growers with those conditions.

I sold thousands of fig plants over seven years. That gave me the opportunity to test hundreds of varieties. I kept the best and threw out the rest. After all that testing I now consider Ondata to be my best overall fig.


Neat! Would you say it’s an early variety, or is it on the later side? I’m way up here in the North, so earliness is a big plus.


My best guess is that it’s mid season. My season is so long I hardly notice. Also differences in pruning make a difference in how early the fruit sets and thus ripens. Last year due to a heater failure in the GH, my figs all froze back severely. One Ondata in a pot didn’t start growing back until July. But with the long season in my GH that plant still produced some nice figs in November and December…

The earliest fig I plan to keep is Smith. There are earlier ones but Smith seems to be a step above the Mount Etna types in eating quality that seem to dominate collections of super early figs.


On a 1-10 scale, how does its taste/eating quality compare to your top figs, e.g. Strawberry Verte, Black Madeira, I-258?


Wow your “Best Overall Fig”!? That’s pretty huge. Wonder how it would do with long hot dry summers around these parts? Now I have to get one to graft or grow.


So mentioning earlier figs or Mt Etna types. Have you grown Crozes? I’ve been and seen many folks say it’s very similar to other Mt Etnas only that it’s far superior in taste. Curious how you rank that one?


What do you think of Violette de Bordeaux?


Adding this one to the very short list of expansion for figs. I’d love to see which others you intend to keep.


Joalle Noire, Smith, Ondata, I-258, Violette de Bordeaux, Mary Lane, and a very few others.


I have never had a fresh fig, but I have a violette de Bordeaux on order and it will be our only fig. What do you think about hardiness and also fruit quality?

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The only fig that probably tastes better on average is Black Madeira and it’s siblings. If BM is a 10 Ondata would be a 9.

My greenhouse is set up to mimic the central valleys of CA. The difference is you likely have the wasp. That’s another ballgame. I had the wasp here a couple of years and wasn’t impressed with the fruit. Bigger but not better. Others say pollination takes figs to a whole other level. But it also increases spoilage, sometimes by a huge amount. One big collector, bluemalibu, near Oroville dumped hundreds of varieties because they all spoiled.

I have been and am growing both Crozes and Conde. They are very similar. They are very early and prolific producers of small, sweet, tasty figs that rapidly dry down on the tree. Probably good for short season and humid climates.

But fruit quality is far inferior to real figs like Ondata. Honestly to me they are hardly worth picking. I’d likely feel differently if I lived in the Northeast. I’d rate them a 5.

VdB is IMO better than Conde or Crozes. It’s bigger and tasty. I’d give it a 7 for eating quality. I have many bigger and better figs.


My best figs are:

Black Madeira types best tasting but many production issues,

I-258 big but about 8 for taste,

Cessac and Smith early small heavy production 8 at best for taste,

Cosme Manyo similar to I-258 but may taste better,

Joualle Noir may rate with BM for taste but low production so far beautiful fruit,

Calderona/BFF may be the same fig, biggest fruit, Beautiful taste 8+

Black Manzanita high yield, big fruit, best of CA seedlings, taste 8-9

Many other very good figs but need more evaluation.


So, you specify “overall”, meaning it’s not the tastiest, correct? :joy:


I just answered that above. It’s a 9 for taste. Nothing else about it lacks that I’ve seen so far.


Just a reminder that it is not always about what tastes best. Consider also whether or not a variety will grow in your climate. I can grow Brown Turkey with zero problems and good production. It might go 5 or 6 on fruitnut’s flavor scale. But ripe figs are still good even if they don’t hit the snob list. :slight_smile:



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For shorter season fig growers:


Great feedback Steve. Although it’s hard to swallow since I rooted 2 and grafted one Crozes. But I’m doing it all to see what I like the best here so that’s ok they’re only in a 4g containers so I’m hoping they produce a little sooner. I have Joualle Noir rooted next to them. I wanted that seeing some of your pics and mentions of it.

Interesting about the spoilage. Here we also have ants, sap beetles, Swd and now appearantly the Oriental Fruit Fly(were in quarantine from that. All can spoil figs. What’s funny is my tight eyed Black Mission didn’t seem to have any spoilage last year but many others around with larger eyes and closer to caprifigs did. And a very large Peters Honey didn’t have any spoilage. Thanks for the info/reply.


I’d love some advice on the tastiest fig that can grow in pots and overwinter in the garage. This year I started pots with Desert King, Lattarula, and Stella. I don’t have too many options in the local garden stores… My outdoor growing season in south-central BC is roughly May through September (inclusive), but it is quite hot in the summer compared to the coastal pacific northwest, like usually 80+ and often 90+ and pretty dry. The spot on my deck where the pots are is extra hot because light reflects off both the lake and my windows.

I don’t think there are too many people who have tried a lot of varieties this way, but if any are reading this thread, educate me!