Is this 8" tall garden volunteer a young fig tree?

Discussion in 'Plants: Identification' started by Justine M, Sep 23, 2009.

  1. Justine M

    Justine M Active Member

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    Hi,

    I don't have a photo to post, but the leaves look remarkable like those of a fig. Rough top, somewhat furry underneath. The stem of the plant is smooth and relatively thick, reminiscent of the part of a fig that once would have been attached to the tree. It's not as leathery as mature fig tree leaves. It is a volunteer in my garden so it's a mystery as to how it got there. I eat all my store-bought figs so it couldn't be from my compost!! But I do live on Vancouver's east side in the Italian neighbourhood, so maybe a bird dropped by with a present?

    I tried to see if google would suggest a 'leaf similar to a fig', but I got mostly links related to Adam and Eve!!

    Any help with suggestions of plants similar to a fig leaf will help me narrow done the plant ID.

    Many thanks in advance. Love this organization!!

    Justine
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    A seed-bearing fig tree would not be usual there. Some empress trees do come up in rockeries and well-watered beds here, probably that is what you have. It is soft and downy, looks a bit like a sunflower plant.

    http://images.google.com/images?cli...wnia&oe=UTF-8&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&hl=en&tab=wi

    Elsewhere white mulberries come up often, are frequently asked about on the internet. Highly variable leaf shape, scratchy surfaces.

    http://images.google.com/images?cli...alba&oe=UTF-8&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&hl=en&tab=wi

    Another one is velvetleaf, but that is not woody.

    http://images.google.com/images?cli...asti&oe=UTF-8&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&hl=en&tab=wi
     
  3. Justine M

    Justine M Active Member

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    Thanks for your prompt reply. I managed to take a photo. Maybe this narrows it down.

    I'm figuring it would be too amazing to think I would be delivered a fig tree... but hope springs eternal!!

    The first image is a leaf from a neighbours fig tree. Definitely more of a grayblue green. The second image shows my mystery plant, which is more yellow green.

    Thanks again!!!!

    jm
     

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  4. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Yours is definitely Ficus carica, however it got there. Have never heard of or knowingly seen a spontaneous seedling here, or even an intentionally planted seedling. Since these do grow from stem cuttings, perhaps a stem fragment got into your bed and took root.
     
  5. Justine M

    Justine M Active Member

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    Actually, the sequence of the photos is incorrect. The first image shows my mystery plant in the garden; the second image is of a single leaf from my friend's tree. Still the same conclusion? (Pinkies crossed!!)
     
  6. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Yes, in fact I thought at first that was the sequence. Makes no difference, both are figs. And probably the same variety.
     
  7. Justine M

    Justine M Active Member

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    Crazy!! I live in Vancouver Canada, not Washington, so maybe even more unbelievable?

    Have no idea how a stem could have gotten into the garden. I had mushroom compost brought in last year to create my bed. I have a tall looked fence surrounding my yard. I guess Mother Nature decided to gift me...

    Thanks for your prompt reply Ron.
    :-)
     
  8. Justine M

    Justine M Active Member

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    Because you wrote that you've never heard of this kind of propogation, I've decided to take two more photos so you can have a good look. Here they are.

    If it is indeed a ficus, can it be left in the garden over the winter? I'd like to espalier eventually, it if it really is a fig tree!
     

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  9. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Does have the appearance of a seedling, with small leaves at the base graduating to markedly larger ones at the top.
     
  10. saltcedar

    saltcedar Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Could the caprifig wasps have migrated North out of California
    to pollinate the local figs? Spontaneous Figs are common there.
     
  11. Justine M

    Justine M Active Member

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    Vancouver had an exceptionally warm and long summer this year. We also had a lot of wasps this summer. I'll have to look up those caprifig wasps to know if I saw any...
     
  12. Justine M

    Justine M Active Member

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    Thought I would share photos of this same plant in season number two!

    My memory was that there were other postings besides the ones showing in this thread (did it get edited?) In any event, thought I'd report back on the mystery fig. I kept it in the garden bed it took root in last fall and only dug it up this spring to make room for more veggies!
     

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  13. elgordo

    elgordo Active Member

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    If you plant it in your garden, make sure that it's in full sun in a sheltered part of the yard. Also make sure that it won't be in your way, not growing into your gutters, etc, and crowding out other plants. They can get enormous! I had one that was 18 years old by the time my mum moved from her place, and it was 20 plus feet after pruning last year, with a trunk circumference of 26 inches. It produced around 30 or 40 pounds of fruit every other year with proper pruning. Even without proper pruning, we had more fruit than we could handle.
    I hope you enjoy your tree, it picked you for a reason!
     
  14. Justine M

    Justine M Active Member

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    Wow! 26" diameter in 20 years... that's huge! I definitely don't have space for that. I am going to have to look at espalier I think!
     

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