Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Yes indeed Smith and Texas BA-1 are the same fig...


Today I picked a few more ripe Texas BA-1 figs from my tree. These had that violet/purple striping EXACTLY like Smith figs often have during cooler periods......especially 2nd crop Smith figs in the fall.   Accordingly, I am now 90% sure that the Louisiana heirloom "Croatian" fig known locally as Smith, is the exact same fig as the Texas BA-1 fig which was found growing in the test plot orchard at Texas A&M university in plot number BA-1. 

My guess is that Dr. O'Rourke shared the great tasting Smith fig that was in his collection with a Texas A&M professor who studied figs years ago.  Dr. O'Rourke was known to share his figs (bothe heirloom and hybrids) with other public and private researchers in the South.  

FYI, Dr. Ira Condit from California was the one who supplied Dr. O'Rourke with the caprifigs that were used in his fig breeding program at LSU. O'Rourke produced thousands of hybrid figs from his Celeste and Hunt mother figs. Several hundred of these hybrids were selected for further evaluation and study. Only a few were officially released to the public. Fig researchers like me are doggedly tracking down other hybrids that remain growing in private collections.


My Smith fig "tree" came directly from the original Louisiana source. My Texas BA-1 fig "tree" came directly from another  fig researcher who lives in the South East.  He is not a member of any fig forum neither am I.  It is IMPOSSIBLE for there to have been a mixup in the propagation of cuttings.

Semper Fi-cus

Monday, July 14, 2014

Smith and Texas BA-1 are the exact same fig??

Breaking News from Dan's fig research facility way down here in Cajun Country. (That's South Louisiana for those of you who do not know the location of Cajun Country).  Here's a bit of information that can only come from a true fig researcher like me and not from any fig collector who is only into figs to make money.

DRUM BEAT PLEASE..............

It is now my opinion that the Smith fig and the Texas BA-1 (aka Red Gold) fig are the exact same cultivar.  Right now I am only 60% sure of this.  I still need to make a few more comparisons between the two named varieties to be 100% sure. My larger Smith tree was nearly destroyed this past winter by a grass fire in my yard.  For that reason, I am not yet 100% sure of that statement.

Take a look at this white fig. http://cajunfigs.blogspot.com/2014/07/a-perfect-10-white-fig.html

That is a picture of a fully ripe Texas BA-1 fig in the above link. FYI,  it looks and tastes exactly the same as a Smith fig. Too, its growing characteristics are the same as a Smith fig. Which leads me to believe with 60% certainty that Smith and Texas BA-1 are the same cultivar.

I've already reported the following information on my Cajun Fig Blog and am now repeating it for those of you who do not know or have missed my previous reports. This was breaking news when I first reported it.

The Smith fig originated in Croatia and came over many years ago into the New Orleans area via Croatian immigrants. Those Croatian established the oyster industry in Louisiana. I personally have verified this migration information during an interview with the Grandson of the man who first brought the Smith fig into the New Orleans area.  He told me that his grandfather also brought some other delicious tasting Croatian figs with him when they first settled in that area.  He talked well about another larger yellow fig (Dalmatia?) that he really enjoyed eating as a young boy.  Accordingly, I am on the hunt to find those other Croatian figs which came over years ago. Unfortunately, recent hurricanes flooded much of that land area for weeks and most of those old figs trees have been destroyed. Quite a few large fruit orchards were destroyed including one of LSU's research study orchards which contained many fig and citrus trees. Thank goodness LSU did not grow all of its research trees in that one area.

I have also previously reported that the St. Jerome fig is the exact same cultivar as Joe Morle's Black Triana fig cultivar.  Too, both of those cultivars are the exact same cultivar as Gene Hosey's Quantico fig which was discovered by Lou Elder (a Garden Web fig forum member) growing in Quantico, Virginia.  Black Triana, St. Jerome, and Quantico are the EXACT same fig cultivar. You do not need all three....as I've stated they are exactly the same.

And I have previously reported in other posts on this Cajun Fig Blog that the Maltese Falcon fig cultivar is the exact same fig as my 2Fat Lady Black fig cultivar.  You can see pictures of both of these figs in other posts on this Fig Blog.

Semper Fi-cus

Friday, July 11, 2014

A Perfect 10 White Fig........

Many figs are ripening in my yard right now. Here are a few pictures of  one really good tasting variety that I have not written much about.  This particular fig rates a perfect 10 for its overall sweetness, its complex taste, and its richness.  Its productivity is improving as this tree matures. That is "solid" honey that is visible around its tiny eye.  Can you guess the variety?

Hint this is a White fig from the South.  Its flavor is often AWESOME and puts the taste of many other Black and White Figs to shame. Those who choose not to try this variety do not know what they are missing!! This variety does well in the South.......and is on my list of recommended figs for my area.

mmmmmhhhhhhh that was one good tasting fig folks!!

Semper Fi-cus

Monday, July 7, 2014

Fig Mosaic Virus is Bad for You...

Below is some IMPORTANT information about Fig Mosaic Virus (FMV)  Read carefully what I have written below. Learn the FACTS about FMV and how it can affect YOU. Learn from this Fig Researcher what some fig forum members absolutely do not want you to know. Some have actually tried to silence me (Jon Verdic, Gorgi, and a few others) and prevent me from getting this very important information out to you. I have written extensively about attempts to shut me up in other posts on my Fig Blog and will not go into all of the details again.

See Florida State's Agriculture Department circular number 64 below for "responsible" FMV control measures that should be practiced by any "responsible" fig forum member and especially by Jon Verdic who owns the figs4fun fig forum.

Don't let anyone tell you that all fig trees have FMV and that some trees just happen to show more symptoms than others.....because that is a crock of bull shit. That nonsense was started and perpetuated by certain members of both fig forums who themselves often have infected fig trees and/ or infected fig cuttings for sale. Jon Verdic (figs4fun fig forum owner and its administrator) is one of those individuals who perpetuates that ignorant nonsense. That is because many of the fig trees and cuttings that Jon Verdic  (user name  Pitangadiego on both of the fig forums) sells (from his Encanto Farms Nursery in San Diego, California) do in fact have FMV. And all of Jon Verdic's fig trees and cuttings have been exposed to that insidious virus. Jon Verdic will tell you that on his website and certain eBay sellers (fig forum members) will tell you that too in their listing.  However, what Jon Verdic and those eBay sellers do not tell you is just how that virus affects the fig tree's growth rate, its eventual productivity, and its cold tolerance. Nor will Jon Verdic or those eBay sellers tell you that any fig cuttings that come from their FMV infected trees will produce new figs starts/trees which will all have FMV. Fig Mosaic virus is 100% documented to spread through "infected fig cuttings" and by those "tiny fig tree mites" that first originated and now still thrive in California.

The following underlined statement is a proven FACT and any self proclaimed fig expert, fig forum administrator, or fig forum member who states otherwise simply does not know what the hell they are talking about. Either that, or they have infected fig trees that they want to sell to others.....and they want you to "believe" that that virus does not matter. When in fact it does indeed matter!!  It matters a lot for the following reasons: 

Fig trees that do not have FMV will grow much faster, produce more figs, and are more cold tolerant than fig trees which do have the FMV virus. 

That is a proven FACT.......look for the ulterior motive of ANYONE who states otherwise. For example:  Jon Verdic's ulterior motive is that he is running a puppy mill....I mean a fig cutting mill over in California. Jon Verdic does not grow his fig trees for maximum fig fruit production as most normal people do. Rather, Jon Verdic grows his fig trees for maximum "cutting" production. The more cuttings that Jon Verdic produces, the more money he makes from his sales.

Those three characteristics ( growth rate, productivity, and cold tolerance) each are extremely important to the fig "GROWER" or fig Researcher like me!!! However, they are not very important to fig "COLLECTORS" like Jon Verdic (and other fig forum members like George Micallef user name Gorgi.) who usually could care less if their fig trees have FMV or not. All those fig fever suffering"fig collectors" want to do is sell cuttings or sell fig starts in order to make money. They will not tell you that it does indeed matter whether or not your fig trees have FMV if your intention is to grow those trees for maximum fruit production (again as most normal people want to do).

Keep in mind that some of those fig forum members who suffer from  bad cases of "fig fever" ARE NOT normal people and sometimes their behavior borders on the illegal and outrageous!! Often it it plain irresponsible on their part. Think about this.........if you are growing only one or two fig trees like most "normal" people do, you sure as heck DO NOT want your fig trees to have FMV!! You do not want to wait years for your fig tree to begin to produce edible figs. And you do not want your fig tree to produce tiny crops of figs. And you sure a heck don't want to lose your fig tree to the cold weather and have to start all over again. A FMV infected fig tree can easily die from the cold weather even in a climate zone 9 winter........

Bottom line.......Don't buy your cuttings from a puppy mill.......I mean a fig cutting mill.  Be careful where you buy them.......


If you still choose to buy ANY plant material at all from Jon Verdic, be aware that you just might be introducing those FMV infectious fig tree mites into your own personal fruit orchard. Go into that purchase fully aware that FMV could be spread to your other healthy trees by those tiny tree mites that might hitch a ride on the plant material that Jon Verdic sells to you (i.e. on any trees and/or cuttings).  Don't expect that the phytosantiary inspection by those California Ag Department Agents will catch any infestations on that plant material.  That is because they are already proven to be incompetent or irresponsible in their inspections.  California has some strict rules on the IMPORTATION of plant material INTO California. However, their rules on the EXPORTATION of plant material from California sources leaves much to be desired.

I can make this type of emphatic statement of "proven incompetence" or irresponsibility because in the past Jon Verdic has sold figs trees to me and to others which were infested with Root Knot Nematodes (RKN).  This has been documented in fig forum threads on the Garden Web fig website. Me, Henry Lyell (and a few others) paid big money for a fig tree that was "supposed" to have undergone both a Phytosantiary inspection and a Snail inspection prior to shipment from San Diego, California.  I was charged $35 for each inspection. IMO, those inspections did not occur because a blind man could have seen that those exported fig trees (sold by Jon Verdic) were grossly infected with RKN.  The RKN root galls were the size of bb's and could not have been missed if anyone had looked at the roots during that inspection. If JonVerdic and those other trained County Agriculture Inspectors could miss seeing several different documented cases of RKN infected fig trees; they very likely will miss seeing any of those tiny FMV spreading fig mites too.  Those fig trees were sold into interstate commerce and one would think that they would be much more vigilant. However, they let RKN infected plants leave Jon Verdic's nursery. I wouldn't trust buying anything from Jon Verdic's operations ever again.  It is 100% factual that Jon Verdic (and others) have tried to silence me and prevent you from knowing about such irresponsibility.

Too,  Jon Verdic completely ignores Florida State Agriculture Department circular 64 (see below) concerning responsible FMV control measures.  He of all people should be practicing such FMV control measures. Yet he does not.........why do you think that is?

Shame on you Jon Verdic!! Shame shame shame.....

So what should you do?

Don't buy fig trees which have FMV if you can avoid it.  There are many area of the country where FMV FREE fig trees still exists.  Do not buy a Celeste tree which has visible FMV when there are many other sources of good Celeste fig trees which do not have that virus. And do not purchase fig cuttings either from any FMV infected trees. The FMV virus is spread thru fig cuttings that are taken from infected trees. It is also spread by tree mites that live in California. Without a doubt, FMV infected cuttings will produce fig trees which will in turn have FMV. So, buy your fig cuttings too from other more RESPONSIBLE sources wherever possible. Recognize that that there is a huge difference between a RESPONSIBLE source and a "reliable" source.  Purchase from a responsible and reliable source.

Buy your cuttings from someone who knows whether or not the mother fig tree has FMV or not. Be very cautious before buying any fig cuttings from any fig collector's  "fig cutting mill".... i.e. from those fig forum members who brag how many varieties of figs that they have in their collection. Many of those people could care less if their fig trees have FMV.  It is much better to buy them from someone who actually grew the mother tree for maximum fruit production. Buy from a person who knows the history of the fig mother tree.  Better yet ask to see pictures of the fig mother tree......and ask to see pictures of its fruit.  Be very cautious of any eBay listing where they refer you to other websites or forums in order for you to get that information. IMO, those people are only in it for the money and not for the improvement of fig culture in America.

IMO it would be crazy to buy any of the LSU bred figs and Louisiana heirloom figs from Jon Verdic's California operations, while there are many mail order nurseries right here in Louisiana who will sell you those cultivars which remain FMV free for now.

FYI.......I am an ardent fig hunter and dedicated fig researcher. For years I have been traveling the back roads throughout South Louisiana in search of new varieties of figs. If you have read my blog posts or any of my many posts on both of the fig forums.....you already know that I have found quite a few interesting new fig cultivars and several new sources for figs here in Louisiana. Many of the rarer LSU figs are now known across the world because of my research work. Over those years I have visited many hundreds of "mature" fig trees and know for a fact that it is extremely rare to find any fig tree growing here in South Louisiana that has FMV. Those few that have FMV usually came from California. Fig trees and fig cuttings that originally sourced from Louisiana will usually not have FMV.

There are several very LARGE WHOLESALE nurseries here in South Louisiana which produce thousands of fig trees annually. I have never seen even one fig tree from those operations which had FMV.  None, nada, zip.......  That is because their mother fig trees are all FMV free. Contrast that to the fig trees that Monrovia sells.  All of their Black Mission fig trees seem to have FMV. Jon Verdic does not screen his fig trees for FMV, so it is highly likely that many of his cultivars have FMV and many of his mother fig trees will remain contaminated.

There are many thousands of fig trees in Louisiana that do not have FMV. And yes, there are many thousands of fig trees in California which do indeed have visible FMV.  That is another one of those Facts which Jon Verdic and some other people do not want you to know.  FMV is not as rampant in other States as it is in California.  Those from California want YOU to believe that FMV is widespread....when the fact remains that it is not.

At one time Louisiana had a thriving fig industry. There were more fig trees per capita than in any other state.  My guess is that Louisiana now ranks third in the number of  fig trees per capita.  Louisiana has had a long history with fig cultivation which dates back to pre-colonial times in the US.  LSU has been studying figs since the 1800's. In the mid 1900's LSU had an active and successful fig breeding program which produced some interesting new figs. One goal of that breeding program was to develop better figs for the fig Industry in Louisiana. Better fig trees have been developed by LSU's O'Rourke; however, those came a bit too late to keep a viable fig industry going ......especially with the frequent visits from those pesky hurricanes which keep knocking mature fig trees back down. Even strong, healthy, FMV free fig trees have a problem with those hurricanes.

Again, don't let anyone (especially Jon Verdic from California or any other member of either fig forum) try to tell you otherwise. FMV does matter!!!   It matters to you the consumer. Always try to secure your fig cuttings and/or your new fig starts from FMV free fig trees wherever possible.  Buy from reputable people who practice the following agriculture department circular:

Responsible FMV Control Measures

The following is from the Florida State Ag. Department circular 64:

A concerted effort should be made to secure and maintain virus-free stock plants. Only from such plants should cuttings be made and increased. Since the virus is not seed-borne, seedling selections can be used for rootstocks. Insects, such as the eriophyid mite which has been reported as a vector of the virus, should be controlled as effectively as possible. Indexing of stock plants with the use of a suitable indicator host is an additional measure which can be implemented to reduce the incidence of fig mosaic.

Special Note:

Ever wonder why the Black Mission fig is so susceptible to frost?? Well that's because most Black Mission fig trees were originally sourced from out of California where they developed FMV. Black Mission fig trees are well known to be very intolerant to cold. Now you know why. FMV makes them cold intolerant!!

And yes I do have a FMV free Black Mission fig tree in my fig trial rows for comparison purposes.  My Black Mission came from an original Louisiana source (and definitely not from California). My strain likely dates back to a time when the Spanish ruled Louisiana and at a time when the Spanish were  establishing those Catholic Missions in the Southeast (Florida area).  Those early Catholic Missions were started years before any of those in California.  IMO, those early missionaries likely planted Black Mission fig trees in Louisiana and Florida  just like they later planted them at the San Diego Catholic Mission in California years later.  According to Ira Condit, it was from that San Diego mission where the California strain of the Black Mission fig originated........my Black Mission has a different heritage and it is FMV free.


About UC Davis's irresponsible distribution of contaminated fig cuttings......

IMO, UC Davis cuttings should only be going into the hands of responsible fig researchers. It is factual that those infected cuttings are now getting into Interstate Commerce thru eBay sales to unwary consumers. It was NEVER UC Davis's intent to get contaminated material into the hands of CONSUMERS. Those UCD cuttings were supposed to only be distributed to RESPONSIBLE fig researchers.....not money hungry greedy fig forum members who will gladly sell them to unwary CONSUMERS. 

IMO, the rules concerning the distribution of plant material from the UC Davis facility in California should change!!  What was once a good thing (free cuttings for research purposes only) has been bastardized by a few irresponsible people!!

Semper Fi-cus