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(Ripe Fig on Tree at Tel Lachish -- Sept 2003)

During April 13, 2005 I was on the west slope of the Mt. of Olives and photographed a fig tree with fig on a branch hanging over the road over a garden wall of someone's yard.  This was ten days before the Passover of the 23rd and 24rth of 2005.  While it was not time for the fig harvest, it was time for the tree to be growing the figs.  These were starchy and used as food by the poor.  As Jesus approached Jerusalem close to the time of the Passover celebration, he arrived in a town called Bethany.  He continued towards Jerusalem and arrived at Bethphage.  Bethphage meant "house of the unripe figs."  It was in this area where Jesus cursed a barren fig tree.  The unripe figs were not considered proper as food to be served in a Sabbath meal (Babylonian Talmud - Erubin), but were considered to be acceptable as an offering to the poor.  While one would not normally eat unripe figs, a grower might curse a tree not fruiting in season.

(Mt. of Olives Fig Tree 4-13-05)

(Tisch Zoo, Jerusalem fig tree in the Birds of Prey open air cage exhibit April 12th, 2005)

The fig tree at the Tisch zoo was unusually productive.  I presume this productivity was assisted by the skill of the gardener for watering it and the presence of bird dung. 

I also saw other fig trees in Jerusalem bearing fruit.  Immature trees did not bear fruit and occasionally there were mature fig trees that did not bear fruit.  Based on my limited observations the mature fruit bearing trees were more numerous than the trees producing no fruit.  

(Zavitan Stream, Yehudiya Reserve, Golan Heights, April  18th 2005)

These figs were not yet ripe.  I tried to eat one of them and it tasted to me like a garden vegetable.  Only the very hungry might find them to be delicious.  I had tasted a smaller unripe fig from the USA in 2004 and found it was starchy without flavor.    


More about the fig tree:


Growing Figs in the Southern United States

Online Guide to Growing Figs in the Southern U.S.Online Guide to Growing Figs in the Southern U.S.