Fig Variety Details


California Brown Turkey

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DFIC 155

DFIC 155, Abicou, Aubicout, Aubique of Provence, Aubique Noire, Black Aubique Of Provence, Black Douro, Black Genoa, Black Jack, Black Portugal, Black San Pedro, Black Spanish, Blue Burgandy, California Brown Turkey, Douro Nebra, Genoa Black, Granata, Improved Brown Turkey, Masui Dauphine (in Japan), Negro Largo (in England), Piombinese, Purple Genca, San Pedro, San Piero, Spanish Black, Thompson's Improved Brown Turkey


Variety Strains

This is different than "Brown Turkey," which is really English/ Eastern/ European Brown Turkey or Southern Brown Turkey. Essentially, "California Brown Turkey" is the modern name for the San Piero variety. Grown commercially in the US and Israel for fresh crops. A large purplish-brown fig with good flavor. Brebas are oblique-pyriform, sometimes elongated; main crop figs are oblique-pyriform with variable neck. Well-adapted in California. Not hardy enough for the South.

As San Piero: This fig needs to be pollinated to set good crops of fruit. A J Downing says that the "fruit is long obovate with dark purple skin becoming nearly black. The flesh is bright red; excellent flavor. A strong growing tree." Offered by Goodman’s in 1903 catalogue & still offered for sale by Daley's Nursery a popular backyard variety. According to Ikin in the NSW & Victorian state fruit collections in 1974. (Australia)

Condit Monograph

As San Piero: Described as San Piero by Gallesio (1817), with the following synonyms: Corbo at Pescia, Piombinese at Pisa, Nero at Massa and Sardegna Rubicone in Lunigiana, Arbicone at Genoa, Minna di Schiavo in Sicily Fallugiana at Abruzzes, Aubique Noire in Provence, and Breva Negra in Spain. See also Rolland (1914) for synonymy.

This variety is described as Corbo by Porta (1592); as Grosse Violette Longue by La Quintinie (1692), Ballon (1692), Garidel (1715), Tournefort (1719), Merlet (1740), Knoop (1771), La Brousse (1774), Mirbel (1802) Rozier (1805), Lamarck (1817), and Bory de Saint Vincent (1824); as Genoa Black by Langley (1728), Miller (1768), Hanbury (1770), Forsyth (1803), Green (1824), George Lindley (1831), Rogers (1834), Hogg (1866), White (1868), Massey (1893), and Wright (1894); as San Piero or Sampiero by Tanara (1651), Gasparrini (1845, under Ficus polymorpha var. bifera), Semmola (1845), Pasquale (1876), Roda (1881), Savastano (1885), Condit (1944, 1947), and Baldini (1953); as Aubique, Aubique Noire, Aulique, Abicou or Abicou Noir by Bernard (1787), Duhamel (1809), Noisette (1821), Couverchel (1839), Audibert Frères (1854), Sauvaigo (1889), Trabut (1904), Starnes and Monroe (1907), Blin (1942), and Simonet et al. (1945); as Albacor or Aubaco by Estelrich (1910); as Ficu Minni di Scava by Cupani (1696); as Negro Largo by Hogg (1869), Moore (1872), Hyde (1877), Barron (1869a, 1891), Coleman (1887b), Wright (1894), Forrer (1894), Wythes (1890a, 1902), Thomas (1902), Stubenrauch (1903), Bunyard and Thomas (1904), Starnes and Monroe (1907), Royal Hort. Society (1916), E. A. Bunyard (1925, 1934), Arnold (1926), Davis (1928), and Fruit- Grower (1936); as Grosse Rouge de Bordeaux by Delbard (1947); as Negro d’Espagne by Hogg (1866) and Barron (1891); as San Pedro Black by Eisen (1888, 1901) and Kirkman (1922); as Portugal Black by Eisen (1901); as Brown Turkey by West (1882) and Condit (1921b, 1922b, 1933); as Douro Black by Wright (1894) and Eisen (1901); as Fico Nero by Vallese (1909); as Ficus carica violacea by Risso (1826); and as Breva Negra by Tamaro (1948). Eisen regarded Grosse Violette de Bordeaux as a synonym.

Illustrations in color by Duhamel, Noisette, Hyde, Moore, Wright, Condit (1941a), and Delbard. Illustrations in black and white by Gallesio, Semmola, Hogg (1869), Eisen (1901), Starnes and Monroe, Vallese, Condit (1921b, 1933), E. A. Bunyard (1934), Tamaro, and Baldini.

The history and identity of San Piero have been reviewed by Condit (1944); from this account we glean the following notes. According to Gallesio, this variety has been commonly grown in Italy, southern France, and in Spain. It appeared in England about 1866 under the name Negro Largo; Mr. Fleming at Cliveden received it from France, and it was later distributed by the firm of Veitch and Sons, Chelsea. The identity of Negro Largo with San Piero was confirmed by E. A. Bunyard (1934), who agreed with Hogg that it was known in France as Noire de Languedoc. The description of San Pietro or Mecklingea by Glady (1883) conforms more with San Piero than with San Pietro. In Japan, San Piero is grown under the name Masui Dauphine. San Piero trees have been found in the eastern United States at the following places: Saxis, Hampton Institute, and Diamond Springs, Virginia; and Accomac and Crisfield, Maryland. At Crisfield, San Piero is being grown commercially.

The date of first introduction of San Piero into California is not known with certainty. John Rock of Niles received Negro Largo from England in 1883; he obtained “Aubique Leroy” from France in 1889—the last part of the name was probably a misinterpretation of Noire. San Piero cuttings were distributed by the United States Department of Agriculture, according to Van Deman (1890), although no localities were listed as recipients. The Chiswick collection from England included the following: P.I. No. 18,872, as Large Black Douro; No. 18,882, as Black Douro; No. 18,889, as Negro Largo; and No. 18,905 as Warren’s Brown Turkey. All of these were probably identical with San Piero. Cuttings received in 1924 from Málaga, Spain, as P.I. No. 58,665, labeled Pacuecas, proved to be the same as San Piero. P.I. No. 93,277, introduced in 1931 from England as Negro Largo, is different from San Piero, and its true identity has not been established. In its catalogue for 1890-1891, the California Nursery Company, Niles, listed Negro Largo as a new variety. The California Experiment Stations tested this variety between 1891 and 1903 under the names Negro Largo and Black Genoa. For reasons not now apparent, the name Negro Largo was dropped, and Black San Pedro was substituted for it.

A variety known as Black Douro or Black Portugal has long been grown in California, and it has proved to be identical with San Piero. The name indicates that it might have been secured from their homeland by some Portuguese residents of the San Francisco Bay region, as suggested by Eisen (1901, p.264). To add still further to the confusion, this variety is designated by some as Brunswick! Commission merchants in Los Angeles market the large, fresh figs of San Piero as Brunswick, although most growers call them Brown Turkey or Black San Pedro. The Thompson, or Thompson Improved Brown Turkey, is identical with San Piero. The same is true of Granata, grown by B. R. Amend, Portland, Oregon. The following account is based on trees in production at Riverside since 1930.

Trees are vigorous, precocious, very productive, often somewhat dwarfed by heavy crops; terminal buds violet-brown. Leaves medium to large, some- what glossy above, variable as to lobing; some are 3-lobed, with upper sinuses shallow, others 5-lobed, with upper sinuses of medium depth, lower sinuses shallow; basal lobes commonly auricled (especially on leaves of sucker growth), with the borders overlapping; margins coarsely crenate.

Breba crop fair, stimulated by terminal-bud pruning of dormant twigs, as described by Hodgson (1925); figs large, up to 3-3/4 inches long and 2-1/2 inches in diameter, oblique-pyriform, sometimes elongated; average weight 105 grams; neck thick and short, merging gradually into body; stalk thick and short; ribs prominent, generally coloring earlier and deeper than body; eye large, open, scales tinted pink, even on immature fruit; white flecks numerous, variable in size; color greenish purple, darker on side exposed to sun and on the apex; bloom delicate, pruinose; meat violet; pulp strawberry; flavor rich; quality good.

Second-crop figs medium to large, or commonly very large on sucker wood of heavily pruned trees, obovate to oblique-pyriform; average weight 70 grams; neck variable, thick and short, or sometimes up to 1/2 inch long and curved; ribs prominent; eye large, open, scales purple; surface somewhat glossy, with prominent bloom; white flecks large, scattered, some elongated, violet at maturity; color purplish black, with lighter shades on neck; pulp strawberry, center hollow, as shown in plate 11 and by Condit (1941a, fig. 11, A); flavor fairly rich. Quality fair to good when matured on the tree. Consumed fresh; worthless for drying, on account of poor color and susceptibility to spoilage, therefore seldom grown in the San Joaquin Valley.

Caprified figs have darker color of skin, a deeper strawberry in the pulp, larger, fertile seeds, and better flavor, than uncaprified ones.

California Brown Turkey
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