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fig vs ficus


Newly Registered
Jun 3, 2024
all figs are ficus, but not all ficus are figs? that doesn't sound quite right because i'm under the impression that all ficus fruits can be considered "figs". however, whenever anyone says "fig" chances are very good that they are referring to ficus carica.

ficus carica is arguably the most widely cultivated ficus species in the world. it can tolerate considerable drought, cold and heat. plus the fruit tastes delicious. so it makes sense to have a forum dedicated to carica.

personally though, i think it would make even more sense to broaden the scope of this forum to include all ficus. this would facilitate cross-pollination, both literal and figurative. ornamental ficus are hugely popular, not just as landscape plants but also houseplants. nearly all of them are more tropical than carica but there are actually quite a few "gateway" ficus, such as ficus petiolaris. it has beautiful leaves and is also drought tolerant. is it more drought tolerant than carica? that's a good question.

unfortunately, ficus carica and petiolaris can't be crossed because they are too distantly related. carica is dioecious (male and females are on separate plants) while petiolaris is monoecious (male and female on same plant). out of the roughly 1000 species of ficus around half are dioecious and the other half are monoecious. nearly all the popular ornamental ficus are monoecious.

out of the 500 dioecious ficus species, how many could be crossed with carica? this is such an important question. recently on a bonsai forum i posted a thread with lots of pics of various ficus species that i've grafted onto carica... "the demand for ficus diversity". if a ficus species can't be grafted onto carica then chances are good that they can't be crossed. one interesting exception to this rule is ficus auriculata. despite numerous attempts i haven't been able to graft it onto carica, which is really strange because in 2017 these two species were successfully crossed in israel.

that bonsai forum has a ridiculous amount of ads. i made the suggestion that they could raise money for the forum by using donations to decide forum categories. in theory this would generate far more money than ads. plus it would allow everyone to see the demand for each category. seeing the demand for discussion topics is just as useful as seeing the demand for the plants themselves. otherwise there will be a very big disparity between what people want (demand) and what they get (supply).

facebook makes it really easy for anyone to create a group for anything. if you create a group, and lots of people join, does this reflect demand? no. it just reflects interest. demand can only be discerned by dollars. this is why facebook will lose out to a forum where demand for "groups" can be determined by donations.

just now, in less than 5 seconds, i created a facebook group for dioecious ficus. admittedly this is very useful. but again, this is not demand. i didn't have to pay anything. and naturally we all love free. but it's a problem when nobody knows my demand for dioecious ficus. hiding my demand is the equivalent of shooting myself in the foot. too few people will propagate dioecious ficus. the supply will fall short of the demand.

but here on this forum, if i donate $500 for a dioecious ficus group/category, then more people will discuss and propagate dioecious ficus. the greater the demand for this topic, the greater the supply. naturally i have no idea what i'd actually be willing to donate for any given category. if categories were determined by donations, and all it took was $20 to put my favorite category at the top of the page, then it wouldn't be necessary to donate any more. this would change if someone else donated more money to put a different category above my favorite category. then we'd have a bidding war for the top spot. this jostling for rank would uncover a more accurate reflection of demand, which in turn would generate a more beneficial supply.

in summary, we all want categories for free, but when we get categories for free, we get less of what we truly want more of. the opposite will occur if we donate for the categories we want. let's donate for a dioecious ficus category in order to facilitate carica cross-pollination, which will yield an abundance of completely new and delicious fruits. or donate for some other category entirely. let's help each other to avoid overlooking the best and most important and useful things in life.

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