Are Figs Pollinated by Wasp?

Before we can talk about how wasps help figs pollinate, we need to know more about the different kinds of figs. There are no visible flowers on fig trees. A fig is a larger and fleshy stem that wraps the small flowers inside an inflorescence. When you bite into a fig, you’ll see its crunchy small seeds, which each represent a different flower. There are four kinds of figs: caprifigs, smyrna, San Pedro, and common, which are recommended for Florida. Caprifigs serve as a source of pollen and have male flowers. Smyrna needs a caprifig to pollinate and only produce female flowers. San Pedro types have female flowers. San Pedro produces two types of flowers, one on leafless wood that doesn’t need pollination and the other on new wood that does. The parthenocarpic (fruit develops without pollination) fig cultivars recommended for Florida are of the common variety. Smyrna and San Pedro varieties won’t produce fruit in Florida because caprifigs and a wasp pollinator (Blastophaga psenes) aren’t there.

Figure 1. Fig fruit morphology


In three fig varieties which needs pollination to produce fruits, wasp acts as a pollinizer. To pollinate a fig, a female wasp must first reach it through a tiny hole the size of a needle at the fig’s stem. The female wasp lays its eggs within the fig. The embryos mature into hatchlings during the next few weeks, with the males emerging first. After that, female wasps start hatching. Pollen from the fig sticks to the females as they move through the exit tubes created by the males. Upon emerging for the first time, the females are loaded down with pollen and fly off in quest of the ideal fig tree on which to lay their eggs. When a female wasp moves into a fresh fig, she takes the pollen from her mother’s fig with her as she drops into the fruit’s dark inner cavity.

So the answer of “Are Figs Pollinated by Wasp?” is yes in caprifigs, smyrna, san pedro types. But commercial varieties, that belong to the common type, do not require pollination by wasp. so, chances of finding a wasp inside a commercial common types fig fruits is zero.

Please read University of Florida publication for more information.



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Posted: January 31, 2023

Category: Agriculture
Tags: Fig, Pollination, Wasp

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