I like to collect fig trees, of various varieties from my friends. But I’m getting more and more unknown varieties. A friend’s house has 4 large fig plants from the previous owner (Italian), and another friend received his from a Greek family.
It seems there are many varieties of fig trees. I do not know how hard it is trying to ID them, probably very hard. Also, it takes some time before I can get the plants to bear fruits.
Or this is something not really worth the efforts?
There are at least a couple of members here who are well versed on figs - @ampersand and @hoosierbanana . I’ve been growing figs for about 20 years, but not a wide variety. Whether the effort is worth it to you or not depends on how well you enjoy them. Not all varieties take what I consider a long time to start producing at least a few figs. At least some types will start giving you fruit within a year, although it does take more time to get a sizable harvest. Mine grew quickly once they had a good root system. I’m in a different environment than you are, though. It might be different where you grow.
The others can tell you more than I can.
As far as an ID, it’s hard to impossible even with fruit to look at, IMHO. Some people say they can ID, I’m not one of them. Growing them amongst others is the best way to be certain.
Collecting Unknown figs, especially from Italian neighborhoods, you may wind up with mostly green honey types and Mt Etna types. But you may find a gem. I’d say if they ripen in NJ and you have room, go for it.
Another helpful tip is to grow them in full all day sun. The more
sun, the more they’ll fruit.
The problem is the over-wintering. I may keep them in large pots, hoping to get some ripe fruits, then try to evaluate them. Thx.