Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Common Fig (Ficus carica) is a large shrub or small tree native to southwest Asia and the eastern Mediterranean region (Turkey east to Afghanistan). It grows to a height of 3-10 m tall, with smooth grey bark. The leaves are deciduous, 12-25 cm long and 10-18 cm across, and deeply lobed with three or five lobes. The fruit is the well-known fig, 3-5 cm long, green ripening purple.
Cultivation and uses
The Common Fig is widely grown for its edible fruit, grown throughout its native area, and also the rest of the Mediterranean region and other areas of the world with a similar climate, including Australia, Chile, South Africa, and California, Oregon, Texas, and Washington in the United States.
Figs can be eaten fresh or dried, and used in jam-making.
Cultural & literary aspects
In the book of Genesis in the Bible, Adam and Eve clad themselves with fig leaves after eating the "Forbidden fruit" from the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil. Likewise, fig leaves, or depictions of fig leaves, have long been used to cover the genitals of nude figures in painting and sculpture. Often these fig leaves were added by art collectors or exhibitors long after the original work was completed.
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