The Monticello Fig?

Fellow forum member, Bear_With_Me, recently mentioned something in another thread that I’ve been puzzled about for quite some time.

Which fig did Jefferson grow at Monticello?

Bear mentions White Marseilles and lists Lattarula as synonymous.

I have read that Jefferson grew the Marsielles fig at Monticello after recieving plants from Europe.

I have also seen references to the following figs as being one and the same:

Marseilles = White Marseilles = Lattarula = White Genoa = Monticello

I have also seen widespread literature referring to each of these figs as distinct and unique.

I am a lurker on both of the premeire fig forums (F4F & OurFigs) and have done a lot of research-- reading the Condit manuscripts-- etc.

So what is it? Are these figs all really one and the same? Or are they different figs with different histories and characteristics? Corroborated primary references?

I submit this question to this august body of peers of whose expertise I value the most.

@ampersand might know.

You can try Condit’s discussion on Blanche
page 372

I stopped counting at 24 names

In his index on page 489 Condit listed lattarula=blanche

I suppose Condit could be wrong too but it’s hard to find a better authority on fig varieties.

In my yard, I have a Blanche fig, Stanley plum, and Stella cherry. Stella is not that productive, and Stanley is OK but nothing to write home about. It’s Blanche that I still desire. Streetcar Named Desire

Sorry for the links being separate. My Ipad doesnt embed them in the text.

Oops, I reread and saw you read Condit - I cant imagine a better reference, but I never know.


Ha ha ha! :smile: I knew that was leading up to something. It sure has been nice seeing you back to posting here lately.

Jefferson grew other figs too, search “figs” on the Monticello site.
I have no idea about your question although since often names are lost and propagation is mostly by cutting, i could see how one fig could have numerous names. Although some may be sports, or offspring to the original fig. Many unknowns are traded too.
I’m just learning about figs, thanks for the links all!

I don’t know a lot about figs but one thing I’m sure of brown turkey is to figs what Kieffer is to pears. Lol if someone doesn’t have a name for it…yep its a brown turkey

My understanding is that they sell a Marseilles fig saying it’s Jefferson’s but it’s not. When the gardens were restored that was the one they acquired. Marseilles is a honey fig, similar to but not nessesarily the same as Lattarula (I do not have Marseilles).

Some claim the variety Battaglia Green traces back to Jefferson. Apparently quite a good variety. Grows (grew?) at Folly Castle, VA.

I’m going off memory and a half cup of coffee, so I may be wrong on the details.

For what it’s worth, my Lattarulla and White Genoa have completely different leaves. My Lattarulla has pretty, very distinct leaves. The White Genoa just has regular looking fig leaves. So far the White Genoa figs fit the description of what they are supposed to look like. Lattarulla hasn’t fruited yet. But they are definitely different for me (or maybe my Lattarulla is not the real deal…? Never know with figs!)
I’ve got no idea which was Jefferson’s though!


What about your White Marseilles? How does that compare to your Lattarula and White Genoa?

Matt, my WM is a little rooted cutting right now, with one tiny leaf :smile: . All my WM cuttings including the ones I gave you were from Greenfin on F4F. The pic of his White Marseilles on his website looks a lot like my Lattarula.

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There are many figs named Lattarula, unfortunately.

I got some cuttings of White Marseilles to root! Looking forward to eating some figs Thomas Jefferson style.


Here’s a 460 year old White Marseilles. (From post on F4F).


Drew, that’s awesome! I won’t live long enough to see mine reach 1/4 that size. It is a great tasting fig that does well in my climate.

Good job, Matt! Anxious to see how your figs do, you’ve done a wonderful job of getting them to root well.

Patty S.

Thanks Patty.

It’s because I have a green thumb.