Wild figs of California

Hunting for wild figs has become a pastime for California growers and more and more wild figs are being found. We have had a flood of heirloom figs from many places in Europe. Most have been brought here illegally. Some have come in the right way. Many are not happy though about so many breaking federal laws.
The wild figs originate here, have fresh genetics, and are surprisingly good! Much of the focus has been shifting to them. I grow a number of them myself, but most of mine are small.
Some recent additions look extremely delicious. I have Honey Plum, Rodgrod, Cherry Bourbon, La Joya, Thermalito, Valley Black, Exquisito. Santa Claus Lane, and Boysenberry Blush

I am trialing two others to see if they are common. Those are Los Santos 2, and Lagrimas.
These are all believed to be wild, some are confirmed wild. I have others too, I just don’t remember the names offhand.
Here are a couple I have, but mine are still small all photos by Eric The Fig-Tator.

Santa Claus Lane - Discovered by Eric


Boysenberry Blush - Discovered by Jon


BB has taken top honors and appears to be one of the best recent finds. Discovered I think in 2019.

Here are some random photos of wilds found

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My yard has become a little “wild figs of california” of it’s own. 50+ self seeded figlets of various ilk. One or two of them hopefully start fruiting this year. I doubt they will turn out anywhere as good looking as the ones you posted.

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Would any of them ripen in the Puget Sound lowlands?
meaning a good breba crop.

It appears many do have breba crops. How good those crops will be are yet to be determined. I’m in Michigan and I don’t have a problem ripening main crop figs. Yes many are very late and not a good fit, but enough types are early for sure. Figs vary a whole bunch as to when they ripen main crop. I have one in ground and it usually dies to the roots each winter, but fruits in the fall for me.

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Thanks for starting this conversation.

I have tasted several of these seedlings in California. They are indeed phenomenal!

But the BIG question is how they will do when not caprified. I got fruit from several varieties last year here and I wasn’t impressed. They are very young trees so the jury is still out.
Several of the well known varieties like Black Madeira, Smith, Adriatic JH made spectacular fruit even in their first season.
Eventually we will discover varieties from CA that are equal to the best varieties being grown without caprification elsewhere in the US.

I do not believe we are there yet.

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I agree I too have tasted some and was not that impressed so far. All the ones you mention I have, so yes, those are all keepers or ones similar to what you mentioned too. And some you didn’t like Mt. Etna types, a few stand out here, they stay dormant late, fruit reliably and very good flavor etc.

The bad thing about these figs is they are highly sought after. It’s bordering on crazy. No, it’s way past crazy!
Boysenberry Blush

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If a new variety actually looks like that without caprification, I would not be surprised by that price.

Several sales occur despite the seller clearly noting that some of these might be Smyrna. Many buyers are quite uneducated and haven’t eaten many figs.

Meanwhile I258 cuttings are selling for $5 per stick. Even uncaprified they will likely beat 99% of these wild varieties.

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Sheesh, I258 for $5? Is there a link to this, I had given up on it after crazy pricing last year.

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Oh! My god I think I’m going to get sick from… envy. Marc

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I agree, the fig I really like is Smith. I want to state too, that all those wilds I have? Were either traded or like Boysenberry Blush given to me. Fig people are some great people! So no skin off my nose if they suck. I need to get rid of a couple dozen anyway. I’m sure3 some I will cull.
I’m not a big fan of sugar or honey figs, but a few I do like a lot. Like Izbat an Naj, productive, tasty and one of the few yellow figs I like. Not a big fan of most.

LOL! If I could not get these in trades, I would not buy them. Hopefully in the future I can spread them a touch. I have nothing currently.,

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LOL me too… If only I could trade my 47000 chill hours for let’s say… 2 more zones I would do it in a minute… Marc

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I found a good fig tree near Hood Canal,Washington
it may be Gillette
I don’t know.
Offered to share cuttings on the forum.
Had a few interested.

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It’s 100% not Gillette.
It could be Osborn Prolific/Neveralla or verns brown Turkey.

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How long did it take from seed (or whenever you noticed them) to fruiting? I was wondering if I should plant seeds from some good varieties that I just grafted this year (assuming the grafts take and I get fruits :slight_smile:)

Of course, I know the quality will depend on the male fig too and may not be persistent. I don’t care much if it’s persistent but do care about flavor and time to fruit. If they produce in 2-3 years, it may be worth germinating some seeds to roll the dice.

I have grown from seed and it took 3 years to fruit. And that is here with my short season. I have a seedling I started last year under lockdown. Going on 2nd leaf and it’s about 15 inches tall right now. My wife is an ER nurse and right in the middle of this endemic so I named the fig Cofig 19.
I encourage all who can to grow from seed. It’s fun and easy. Eric in California has collected many male figs and has every premium fig out there. Well every male too. Like 50 of them. He plans to try various crosses and I’m hoping I get some to grow out too.

Cofig 19

That tree in the upper right corner cracked my patio concrete! The tree is going to be cut down the 25th
A 50 foot Honey Locust, better than oak to burn! Great wood. I’m keeping it (and the wood chips). Now the 9 stone fruit trees and my fruiting shrubs in the back will get sun all day. The tree is east of the house.
And yes that is snow.

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3 years for the ones in good sunny locations. 4 or even longer for others in shade. Seems to align with what Drew noted.

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I’m also growing some of these wild finds. I haven’t tasted any yet, but I’m really excited for them.
I’ve also found a couple myself that I’m currently growing to test their quality. They were found growing in poor soil and in shade. The flavor had promise but their was something “off” about the taste. A sharp flavor which reminded me of one of those syrups that are added to flavored coffees, maybe almond or coconut. Both these had that flavor, so I’m thinking it may have been growing conditions. Hopefully anyway, as I think I will enjoy them more without that.
(Edit: I should add that these are suspected seedlings, I haven’t ruled everything out yet. They were found growing in a tangle of different figs, on a fence line, in a parking lot.)

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Like I said
I don’t know what it is
but it does pretty well for the Puget Sound lowlands.
Parent tree is in poor condition
Nobody has pruned it

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Cherry Cordial and La Joya were a couple more finds from Eric. Cherry Cordial is a very robust grower and I was able to get a couple of figs off a first year cutting. They tasted just like the name, a very deep flavorful cherry that was not too sweet.

The La Joya is a much slower grower and is slow enough that I may not get any fruit this year. It’s in a sunnier location, so hopefully it will take off this spring.

I also picked up a Meteorito this winter and have a couple cutting rooting right now. Excited about this one.

I’m definitely on a budget, so all of these were picked up via trade. I’ve done my best to continue passing them on.

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I’m interested in that one if you want to trade cuttings next season.

Yeah I think that one needs the wasp. I can’t have them all! :}

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