Marseilles Black Fig Tree
A very popular but still somewhat rare fig, Marseilles Black Fig Tree is one of the finest tasting of any fig that we can reliably ripen here. The flavor is often compared to Black Madeira though it ripens much earlier than that variety. It’s often called a Mt. Etna type fig as it is similar to Chicago Hardy and a host of other figs that supposedly come from around Mt. Etna in Italy, though we’d assume this one to be French in origin. The only downside of this fig is that it does seem to be quite susceptible to Fig Mosaic Virus when it’s young but it really doesn’t seem to slow it down much at all or effect the fruit quality. Skin is a beautiful purple black when fully ripe with a red interior and notes of dark berry and a very high sugar content. Absolutely delicious!
This is the variety also known as Marseilles Black VS and if you’ve tasted the figs growing in the parking strip by the yucca just to the north of the nursery driveway and fallen in love with them, that tree is Marseilles Black.
One of the easiest fruits to grow, and a true gourmet delight, you should not live your life without feasting on this sweet, delectable fruit. To fully enjoy fresh Figs you must grow your own. When fully ripe and at their tender, shipping them long distances is virtually impossible. Another plus for Figs – deer don’t like them (most of the time)!
Click here to read our Fig Growing Guide.
Latin Name: Ficus carica
Site and Soil: Figs do well in a variety of soils, but require at least 8 hours of sunlight during the growing season.
Pollination Requirements: Self-fruitful.
Hardiness: Hardy to between 0° & 5° F.
Bearing Age: 1-2 years after planting
Size at Maturity: 10-20 ft in height, smaller with pruning.
Taste: Notes of dark berry, very high sugar content
Fruit Skin: Purple to black
Fruit Flesh: Red
Bloom Time: Flowers are not noticeable as they are inside the fig.
Ripening Time: Late August-September
Yield: 10-15 lbs. or more per plant
Pests & Diseases: Figs are not bothered by pests in our region. Cover plants with netting if birds are a problem.
Fig Mosaic Virus is a benign virus that exists in all cultivated fig trees. Yellow spotting of the leaves is a cosmetic symptom that shows more in container culture, but is quickly outgrown once trees are planted in the ground. The presence of FMV in all cultivated figs has become widely accepted, as even the national germplasm repository for figs maintained by the USDA has Fig Mosaic Virus. If the presence of FMV is a concern, then purchasing fig trees may not be the best option for you.
USDA Zone: 7, maybe 6?