Fig Variety Details

General

Variety
Celeste
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NPGS ID
DFIC 080
AKA

DFIC 80, AA001, Belleclare #2, Blue Celeste, Celeste Violette, Celestial, Celestine, Conant, Creech, Egyptian Pharaoh, Gray Midsummer's Day, Honey, Improved Blue Celeste, Little Brown, Little Brown Sugar, Malta, Small Brown, Stallion? Sugar, Tennessee Mountain, Violette

Variety Strains
Description

Small to medium fig with light brown to violet skin and strawberry pulp. Pyriform with tapering neck. Small, closed eye. The eye remains green until the fig is almost ripe (unlike Brown Turkey). Very cold hardy. Excellent fig - arguably the finest Southern fig, but usually disappointing in California and the Southwest. Small chewy violet tinged over bronze colored figs with rosy amber flesh are packed full of flavor and great for drying (can almost dry on the tree). Widely adapted, and manageable tree. Early Ripening.

Small to medium fig with light brown to violet skin and strawberry pulp. Pyriform with tapering neck. Small, closed eye. The eye remains green until the fig is almost ripe (unlike Brown Turkey). Very cold hardy. Excellent fig -- arguably the finest Southern fig, but usually disappointing in California and the Southwest.

California Rare Fruit Growers, Vol. 23, No.6, December 1991: Plump, small-to-medium size fruit. Tightly closed eye. Beautiful light-violet to violet-brown skin. Sweet, firm, juicy white flesh resists spoilage.
Excellent fresh or dried. Tangy aftertaste when fresh. Small tree.

The fruit is small (10-15 grams each) and violet to brown with a light strawberry-colored pulp. It is very good in quality as a fresh, canned or preserved product. The fruit droops at maturity and has a closed eye. This makes it highly resistant to splitting and souring. The fruit has a slender stalk and tapering neck. Leaves generally have three lobes but may have three to five lobes. This variety makes a dark preserve and is processed as a specialty item. It is also an excellent home orchard variety for fresh and processed use.

The Celeste fig is small, brown to purple in color and adapted to all areas of Texas. Celeste is the most cold hardy of all Texas fig varieties. The tree is large, vigorous and very productive. Celeste usually does not have a Breba crop; the main crop ripens in mid-June before the main crop of other Texas fig varieties. Celeste fruit has a tightly closed eye which inhibits the entry ofthe dried fruit beetle. The fruit does not have excessive souring on the tree. Celeste has excellent fresh dessert quality with a rich sweet flavor. It is an excellent processing fig, either frozen or processed as fig preserves. Do not prune mature Celeste trees heavily because this can reduce the crop.

Pedigree
Condit Monograph

As Malta(syns. Small Brown, Celeste, Celestial, Sugar, Blue Celeste, Celeste Violette). Described as Malta by Miller (1768), Hanbury (1770), Forsyth (1803), Brookshaw (1812, with color plate), Green (1824), George Lindley (1831), Holley (1854), M’Intosh (1855), Dochnahl (1855), and by Bunyard and Thomas (1904). Described as Celeste by Affleck (1850, 1852, 1854), White (1868), Massey (1893), Burnette (1894), Eisen (1885, 1897, 1901*),8 Earle (1900), Price and White (1902*), Starnes (1903*), Starnes and Monroe (1907), Anon. (1908), Van Velzer (1909*), Reimer (1910*), Potts (1917), Gould (1919*), Hume (1915*), W. S. Anderson (1924-1928), Mowry and Weber (1925), Woodroof and Bailey (1931*), Stansel and Wyche (1932), Woodard (1938, 1940), Ashley (1940), and Condit (1941a*, 1947*).

The identity of the Celeste fig, so widely grown in the southern United States, has long been in doubt. White (1868) suggested that it might prove to be the Malta described by previous authors. Others seem to have overlooked this suggestion, but a close comparison of descriptions of Malta and Celeste leaves no doubt of their identity. English writers reiterate the statement of Miller, that Malta shrivels on the tree and becomes a fine sweetmeat. Stansel and Wyche report that in Texas, Celeste will dry on the tree to some extent without souring. Bunyard and Thomas state that Malta “is in all respects like Brown Turkey except in the shape of the fruits, which are shorter and of peg-top shape.” Figue d’Automne or Celeste, listed by Ballon (1692), and Liger (1702), as bearing fruit which may remain on the tree during the winter and mature in the spring, is apparently a different variety.

As early as 1850, Thomas Affleck reported that of the twenty-odd sorts of figs in his orchard at Washington, Mississippi, the Celeste or Celestial was the general favorite. Source of the first importation of Celeste and the significance of the name have not been learned. In its catalogue of 1828, Bartram’s Botanic Garden, Philadelphia, offered “Coelestial” fig trees at fifty cents each. For a century or more it has been the leading variety in Louisiana and Mississippi; Earle (1897) reported that nine-tenths of all figs grown in these two states were Celeste. In Georgia, Woodard showed that this variety ranked with Brunswick and Brown Turkey in high production and resistance to winter injury.

Although Malta is a common fig, trees do drop a considerable percentage of their crop under some circumstances. W. S. Anderson found in Mississippi in 1924, that many fruits set, but when not more than, one-half inch in diameter they usually shriveled and fell off; the trees bore better crops in dooryards than under orchard conditions, either with clean culture or in permanent sod. Canning companies at St. Martinsville, Elizabeth, and Jeanerette, Louisiana, harvest Malta (Celeste) figs from dooryard trees, and handle considerable quantities as preserves under various brands. In the garden of the restored governor’s mansion at Williamsburg, Virginia, there is a planting of fig trees consisting mostly of this variety.

Malta (Celeste) was introduced into California from eastern nurseries between 1860 and 1870, but on account of the small size of the fruit (has never attracted attention commercially. Individual trees are occasionally found in yards, but most homeowners prefer varieties which either produce two crops, or a single crop of larger fruit. Trees are hardy, partly on account of prolonged spring dormancy. According to Stansel and Wyche, they were not injured in Texas by a temperature of 11°F. in 1930.

In the southern United States it is generally considered to be a vigorous grower, but in California trees are slow-growing and dwarf in habit as compared with trees of most commercial varieties. Terminal buds are green. Leaves below medium, glossy, 3- to 5- lobed; upper sinuses moderately deep and broad, lower sinuses shallow; base subcordate; margins crenate.

Breba crop small, or mostly none; in Texas a few brebas occasionally mature in May, the individual figs being larger than those of the main crop.

Second-crop figs at Riverside, California, small, up to 1-3/4 inches long and 1-1/4 inches in diameter, pyriform, with neck tapering gradually from body to stalk; average weight 14 grams; stalk slender, up to 3/4 inch long; ribs broad, slightly elevated; eye medium, partly open, but not readily admitting dried-fruit beetles; scales chaffy, erect at maturity; surface dull, with conspicuous bloom often absent from a sharply defined apical zone; white flecks scattered, fairly conspicuous, but becoming masked by mature body color; skin checking crisscross at maturity; color violet-bronze to chocolate brown; pulp strawberry; flavor sweet and rich; seeds small, hardly noticeable; quality good. Figs drop and dry without spoiling. (Plates 9; 25, C.)

Caprified figs are larger, spherical-turbinate; pronounced violet tint outside and dark strawberry inside flavor subacid; seeds numerous.

Family
Celeste
Sub Family (New)
Type
Common
Collection
Belleclare
Non-Carica
N/A
Availability
Excellent
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Beginner
Excellent
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Origin

Images

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Main Crop

Main Season
Mid
Main Earliness Rating (5=early, 1=late)

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Main Yield
Average
Main Yield Rating

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Main GDD
2482
Main Ripening Days
Main Primary Flavors
Sugar
Main Additional Flavors
Main Primary Flavor (New - In Process)
Main Secondary Flavor (New - In Process)
Main Flavor Notes (New - In Process)
Main Flavor Rating

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Main Fruit Size
0-15g
Main Seed Crunch
None-Little
Main Seed Crunch Rating (1=none-little, 5=heavy)

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Main Skin Thickness
Very Thin
Main Eye Opening
Closed
Main Eye Opening Rating (1=large/open, 5=tight)

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Main Eye Description
Main Fruit Drop Resistance
Average
Main Fruit Drop Resistance Rating

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Main Split Resistance
Average
Main Split Resistance Rating

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Main Rain Tolerance
Average
Main Rain Tolerance Rating

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Main Uses
Fresh, Drying
Main Additional Notes
  • Ripens in late June & into July in the deep south.
  • Has tendency to drop when immature, but grows out of it.

Breba Crop

Brebas?
Yes
Breba Yield
Breba Yield Rating

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Breba GDD
Breba Flavor (Difference from Main)
Breba Primary Flavor (New - In Process)
Breba Secondary Flavor (New - In Process)
Breba Flavor Notes
Breba Ripening Days
Breba Fruit Size
Breba Seed Crunch
Breba Skin Thickness
Very Thin
Breba Eye Opening
Breba Eye Description
Breba Fruit Drop Resistance
Breba Split Resistance
Breba Rain Tolerance
Average
Breba Uses
Breba Additional Notes
  • Breba Yield: poor

Climate

Vigor
High
Vigor Rating

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Cold Hardiness
High
In Ground Zone
6+
Produces After Die-back
Excellent
Produces After Die-back Rating

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Lignified Wood Winter Survival Rating

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Rooting Ease
Excellent
Rooting Ease Rating

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Container Adaptable
Excellent
Container Adaptable Rating

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RKN Resistance
Excellent
RKN Resistance Rating

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FMV Resistance
High
FMV Resistance Rating

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Additional Notes

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