Black Madeira (UCD)

DFIC 144, Black Madeira


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Overall Quality

This UCD strain is believed to have a higher level of FMV and slower growth.

Main Crop Ripening Days: 100

Other Comments

Perhaps the best tasting fig that exists. Needs more heat and a longer season than most. Ripens, but lacks flavor and sweetness after first cold weather. Splitting is a problem in some years: usually the same years that Panachee has a splitting problem.

Legend has it, that this variety is from the island of Madeira in Portugal. The Black Madeira fig is a dark fig with a dark red interior. It is a premium fig, prized for its unique flavor. Black Madeira has a fruity flavor, is sweet and can become quite thick and syrupy as it ripens. Many fig enthusiasts consider this one of the best figs - period. This fig prefers heat, lots of sun sun and a long growing season. It can be difficult to grow in some locations.

Flavor compares well with Figo Preto, which seems to ripen earlier than Black Madeira. This was a very slow growing tree until the year following a deliberate over-fertilization regimen. It has been a much more vigorous grower since then. This variety has been more difficult to root than most, and often does not survive the first winter after rooting. Air-layering has been nearly 100% effective but, again, takes longer than most varieties to air-layer, and has needed to overwinter in a greenhouse before really beginning to thrive.

Robert Harper in Connecticut: Of the thousands of figs growing in the world, Black Madeira is considered one of the top12 best tasting figs ever, by most fig connoisseurs. A late ripening fig, and will have to be grown in a pot, in the north. Then brought inside in the fall before the leaves fall off. But, a very knowledgeable F4F member, fig collector, who lives in the suburbs of Chicago, states his Black Madeira ripens to perfection, before frost, in a pot setting on his driveway pavement. So, I’m going to try growing one that way also. If that works for us, then it may allow growers in the north to also be able to grow some of the best tasting figs in the world, without a green house. We got our strain from a collector in the south. We wanted only his particular strain. Because, although he got his start from UC Davis, and the mother tree at UC Davis has Fig Mosaic virus, his plant has been a very healthy and vigorous grower in the south, for him. We figured if a strain of Black Madeira can be grown with success in Georgia, it must be a healthy, strong fig. We rooted this fig for the first time in 2013.  Over half those cuttings produce plants that did not show any signs of FMV. So, we are propagating from a Black Madeira that is not showing symptoms of FMV.

HarveyC @ Figaholics: Black Madeira is a great fig a fig brought to California by immigrants from the island of Madeira, Portugal over 50 years ago. We believe it to be the same as a fig known by the name of Figo Preto and it is probably also the same as a fig known in some parts of Portugal by the name of Violeta. This tree grows more slowly than many varieties and it can also be more difficult to root. We've experimented grafting Black Madeira onto other vigorous varieties such as Brown Turkey and highly recommend this method. The fruits of Black Madeira are considered by many to be among the best. They have are sweet and rich flavor and jammy texture. Fruit size is typically medium. For people in cooler climates it may be difficult to obtain ripe fruit without the benefit of keeping the tree in a greenhouse or other controlled environment to give the trees an early start in the spring. Produces main crop fruits, pollination not required.

External Links

Condit Group
Common Fig with Various Dark Shades of Red or Brown or Violet to Black Skin and Various Shades of Red Pulp
Black Madeira
Sub Family
Persistent Caprifig
US Availability
Commercial Suitability


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Main Crop

Main Crop Season
Main Crop Yield
Main Crop Flavors
Acid, Complex Berry, Dark Berry, Elegant Berry, Exotic
Ross Raddi's Flavor Group
Elegant Berry
Main Crop Hang Time
Main Crop Fruit Size
Main Crop Seed Crunch
Main Crop Toughness
Very Soft
Main Crop Eye Opening
Main Crop Fruit Drop Resistance
Main Crop Split Resistance
Main Crop Rain Tolerance
Main Crop Uses
Main Tree Drying Capability

Breba Crop

Breba Crop?
Breba Yield
Breba Flavor
Breba Fruit Size
Breba Seed Crunch
Breba Crop Toughness
Very Soft
Breba Eye Opening
Breba Fruit Drop Resistance
Breba Split Resistance
Breba Rain Tolerance
Breba Uses


Cold Hardiness
Produces After Die-back
Produces After Die-back Rating

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Rooting Ease
Rooting Ease Rating

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Container Adaptable
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RKN Resistance
RKN Resistance Rating

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FMV Resistance
FMV Resistance Rating

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Main Crop Flavor Rating

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