It grows readily from seeds and cuttings, especially along water courses and rich, bottom lands, and was introduced by people throughout the Holy Land.
Fig trees provided shade, fire wood and several crops of nourishing fruit a year.
When the term "fig gashing" in the Near and Middle East is mentioned in various articles and books (including the Bible), it most likely refers to the sycomore fig (Ficus sycomorus), a species that is actually native to eastern Central Africa.
Although the true East African pollinator wasp is not present in the Holy Land, an ovipositing, nonpollinator wasp does induce parthenocarpic fruits containing wasps instead of seeds.
Chauvinistic males also believe the penalty for this unauthorized fruit-picking was a sorrowful menstrual cycle.
The scratchy leaves of this tree were reportedly used to cover the genitalia of the first humans.
It is a dioecious species with separate male and female trees, and a symbiotic pollinator wasp (Blastophaga psenes) that is propagated inside the fruits (syconia) of male trees called caprifigs.
It grows wild over a large area, including southern Europe and the Middle East.
With 800 species of figs on earth it is difficult to generalize because there are so many exceptions. Right: Fig wasps (Pleistodontes imperialis) from rustyleaf fig (Ficus rubiginosa) compared with the "eye" of an ordinary sewing needle. They develop sweet seedless fruits (syconia) without fig wasps.
Oversimplification often leads to errors even by experts in the field. They are just two of the hundreds of parthenocarpic cultivars of Ficus carica.