Sunday, February 14, 2016

What's in a name?

Sometimes I get the feeling that there are really only a handful of fig varieties which everyone comes up with different names for and calls it a new species. There are so many made up names because someone found a tree and named it after the owner or the street that it was found on. I'm sure 95% of these already have a name, but no one is willing to shell out the cash to actually get it DNA tested against an existing database.

There are the rare few cases like the Olympian that actually was tested and discovered to a be a new variety found in Olympia Washington.

Article about the Olympian here.

Some say that's the "fun" about figs. But I think it can get pretty confusing for someone new to figs. I'm pretty sure that if you track the lineage of some figs back to it's origins, there will probably be no more than 50 true different species and the variations are caused by environmentals of a climate. But that's just my embellished guess.

The list of varieties seems staggering but thanks to the folks at Encanto Farms they've compiled a long list as reference.

I do not think it's complete but its definitely the most comprehensive.  The list of names seems to be always growing. Or Atleast the synonyms are forever growing.

Take for example. The Kadota Fig. (credit to Mountainman on Gradenweb for this photo)

5 figs with different names from different sources, and guess what? They all look like the same fig.

Here's another example about the Vasilika Sika vs Staten Island Bomb vs Stella Cordi vs Dalmatie

More from about it here.


and another about the Nero 600 vs Negronne vs Violette De Bordeaux. Thanks to PAfigs for this video feel free to subscribe to him he does a great job detailing different varieties.

What prompted me to study fig names in depth was the fact that I have bought multiple figs to only findout that I already owned that variety. This simple mistake can get pretty costly for new fig collectors who go on buying frenzies. (IE me)

So I've started to compile a list myself through countless hours of research of synonyms. Its far from being complete but it's a growing document that I will continue to fill-out as new names pop up.

At the moment there are 1400+ Names of fig varieties. To me that number should be whittled down to a few hundred at most.

The variety Fig Thesaurus can be found on the right column or linked here. It's a growing document and by no means fully accurate so I encourage that you let me know if you catch an error. A list this large should be a communal responsibility but I'm happy to be the moderator.

Please Join me on fig addiction to share your fig stories and experiences.

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