Fig Variety Details


Ischia Black (UCD)

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DFIC 090

DFIC 90, Black Ischia, Black Provence, Blue Ischia, Early Forcing, Nero

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The Ischia Black fig produces a good crop of very flavorful medium to small, pear shaped to turbinate, black figs with a noticeable blue bloom and ribs. The rich sweet flesh is dark strawberry to purplish red and are excellent fresh or dried and likely preserved as well. It is a vigorous tree that often bears a breba crop. Ischia Black, often Black Ischia or Blue Ischia, has an open eye and is probably best suited for coastal California and not so much for the Southern regions.

Ray Givens: A small purplish-black fig with strawberry pulp. Oblique-pyriform to turbinate. Leaf: subcordate to truncate; unlobed to 3 lobes; sinuses shallow. Fairly sweet and rich flavor. Well-adapted in coastal California, but not very productive in the South. Not particularly hardy. Has been replaced by Celeste. Synonyms: Blue Ischia, Nero

Figues du Monde: Italy, Ischia Island (volcanic island of the Bay of Naples).Small tree, little vigorous, leaves trilobed, bifurted fig, black brown epidermis, strawberry pulp, mature late August, suitable for growing in pots and small town gardens. There are two other "Ischia" that certainly have no connection with the island of Ischia in the Bay of Naples but which had to be named so in a commercial concern.

Accession was donated. California United States. Donors: University of Calif. Comment: Donated to NCGR, Davis.

Condit Monograph

Ischia Black: (syns. Blue Ischia, Early Forcing, Nero). Described by Miller (1768), Hanbury (1770), Forsyth (1803), Brookshaw (1812), Green (1824), George Lindley (1831), Rogers (1834), Holley (1854), Dochnahl (1855), M’Intosh (1855), Hogg (1866), Thompson (1859), Eisen (1885, 1888, 1901), Coleman (1887b), Wythes (1890a, 1893), Barron (1891), Massey (1893), Burnette (1894), Starnes (1903), Starnes and Monroe (1907), Bunyard Hilgardia and Thomas (1904), E. A. Bunyard (1925, 1934), Hume (1915), Gould (1919), Mowry and Weber (1925), Cook (1925), Condit (1947), and Preston (1951). Illustrated in color by Brookshaw (1812) and Condit (1941a); in black and white by Eisen (1901).

Ischia Black was apparently introduced into England from the island of Ischia by Philip Miller, who described it as a black fig of high flavor, especially attractive to birds.

Later English authors add little to Miller’s brief description. Wythes did not grow many trees, as he found the fruit to be of poorer quality than that of Ischia. E. A. Bunyard (1934), however, added this note to his account: “A variety for the epicure when flavor is valued.”

Ischia Black was obtained by the California Nursery Company from England in 1893, and about the same time it arrived with the Chiswick collection as P.I. No. 18,894. Trees have fruited in collections at Niles, Chico, Fresno, and Riverside, and at various state experiment stations. Individual trees of this variety are also commonly found in orchards of the Franciscana fig, and occasionally in dooryards. As Eisen commented in 1901, Ischia Black “is a common variety, but one which could easily be dispensed with.”

The fruits are smaller, but otherwise comparable, fresh and dried, to those of Franciscana.

The tree is vigorous, upright in habit, with branches inclined to droop; terminal buds are reddish brown. Leaves similar to those of Ischia, medium to small; upper surface glossy, rugose; mostly 3-lobed, but often nonlobed; upper sinuses moderately deep and broad; base subcordate to truncate; margins coarsely crenate (plate 13). Description of fruit is from specimens maturing at Riverside and Fresno.

Breba crop fair; fruits medium or above, up to 2-1/4 inches long and 1-3/4 inches in diameter, oblique-pyriform, with a short, thick neck; stalk often 1/2 inch long or more somewhat swollen toward body of the fig; ribs narrow, slightly elevated; eye medium, open, scales purple; color purplish black; bloom conspicuous; meat thin, white, with a violet tinge; pulp strawberry; flavor fairly sweet and rich.

Second-crop figs small to medium, oblique-pyriform to turbinate, with or without a short neck; average weight 30 grams; stalk up to 1/2 inch long; surface dull, bloom fairly heavy; white flecks scattered, finally masked by black body color; pulp strawberry; quality good.

Caprified specimens similar in external characters to the uncaprified ones; pulp dark strawberry; seeds fertile, prominent. (Plate 27, C.)

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Acid, Dark Berry, Exotic, Honey
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Dried, Fresh, Preserves
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