Fig Variety Details

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DFIC 340

Cordelia, Gillette, Pingo de Mel, Saint John


The only edible caprifig. Fruits very early. Fruits pale yellow, small, pulp nearly white, without a lot of character and not really that tasty. Tree low, dense, spreading. A fine choice for north coast and Pacific Northwest.


(syns. Saint John, Cordelia, Pingo de Mel, Gillette). Described as Croisic by Solms-Laubach (1882, 1885), Trabut (1901), Leclerc du Sablon (1908), Rixford (1920a), and Condit (1942, 1947). Described as Saint John or Saint Johns by Wythes (1890b, 1900b), Wright (1895), Eisen (1901), Bunyard and Thomas (1904), Starnes and Monroe (1907, as Saint Jean Blanc), B. A. Bunyard (1925), 0. T. (1905), Thompson (1925), and Preston (1951). Described as Cordelia by Eisen (1896, 1901). Described as Pingo de Mel by Coleman (1887a), Eisen (1901), Thomas (1902), Henslow (1902), Cheffins (1905), Royal Horticultural Society (1916), and Condit (1921b).

In 1882, Solms-Laubach reported observations both at Croisic and at Cherbourg, France, of an edible fig which, like the caprifig, had a zone of male flowers inside near the eye. Three years later he expressed the opinion that Croisic is simply a highly developed caprifig deprived of the blastophagas which normally inhabit caprifigs. In July, 1893, Gustav Eisen noticed in the San Francisco market some large yellow figs shipped from Cordelia, California. He examined the fruit and found “every one with a fully developed zone of male flowers, fully ripe, and with an abundant, perfectly developed pollen.” Eisen concluded that this fig was possibly identical with the Croisic described by Solms-Laubach, but he placed it in a special class, the Cordelia, or Ficus carica relicta. At a meeting of the Royal Horticultural Society, July 8, 1902, Henslow cited the fig variety Pingo de Mel as an exception to the rule that all edible figs are female, since its fruit bore stamens.

According to Wythes (1890b), the Saint John, exhibited by Veitch and Sons, Chelsea, at the Temple Show in London, was a welcome addition to the list of good varieties. In 1900, Wythes expressed the opinion that Pingo de Mel and Saint John were not the same. However, George Bunyard, also O. T. and Thompson, regarded the two as identical, and recommended the variety as one of the best for forcing in pots.

Trees of the Croisic are occasionally found in California, especially in the vicinity of San Francisco Bay. They are also grown in a small way in Oregon under the name “Gillette,” because cuttings were obtained from the Gillet Nursery, Nevada City, California. P.I. No. 6,952, obtained from Malta as Tin Baitri or Saint John, and Nos. 18,858 and 18,885 of the Chiswick collection, have all proved to be identical with Croisic.

Tree vigorous and productive; leaves medium to large, mostly 5-lobed; sinuses medium, narrow; base subcordate.

Profichi medium or above, up to 1-3/4 inches in diameter, pyriform with distinct neck; ribs prominent, with surface often somewhat corrugated; eye fairly large, with yellowish-green scales; color greenish yellow; interior white; edible pulp insipid, lacking in sugar; staminate flowers few, generally lacking in pollen.

Mammoni crop scanty in interior valleys but fair in cool, coastal climates; figs much the same as profichi.

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