Left: Ficus Spelled Out with Seeds; Right: Morning muesli with Figs. What’s that in my cereal?
We’ve been enjoying beautiful figs (Ficus carica) with our breakfast muesli and, hey, why not waste a few hours coaxing the little fig seeds into spelling themselves. I confess: I was going to spell out carica, but working with the little fig seeds proved a bit too much before it was time to go to work. The seeds stick everywhere but where I wanted them to. According to the Wikipedia entry on fig pollination and fig fruit, a single fig can contain up to several hundred to several thousand seeds. (You can easily write a small story about figs with that many.) Also, a fig fruit is a multiple fruit composed of many flowers. One way to think about a fig is to take your thumb and index finger and bring the tips close together to almost, but not quite, touch. That’s the fig, an enclosed flower. The little space between your thumb and index finger tips is called the ostiole*. Figs fruits are called syconium, but you won’t see that term in your local grocery store.
* Ostiole makes me think back to time spent at Ostia Antica (Two Days in Ostia Antica). The town is from the Latin ostium, entrance, river mouth.
We also discuss Ficus in Binomen Art - Ficus. In that post it was Ficus microcarpa (Indian Laurel), whose fruit are anything but edible. Microcarpa = small fruit.