Characteristics and cultivation of the sycamore (Ficus sycomorus)

Sycamore fig

Surely you have ever seen a fig tree and eaten the figs straight from the tree. These fruits are so sweet and delicious. Today we come to talk about a different species of fig tree known as African fig tree or Sycamore. Its scientific name is sycamore figs and it is the genus of fig trees that belongs to the Moraceae family. It is similar to the fig tree we know, although it has some characteristics that make it unique and different from the rest. Its history dates back to ancient Egypt and has been well known for a long time.

In this article we are going to explain what its main characteristics are and what you should know to grow it in your garden.

Key features

figs growing

figs growing

It is an African tree with Egyptian origin. It is found in several countries in Africa that have a similar climate since it requires some specific conditions to survive. Since these climatic conditions also occur in other areas of the world, we can also see it naturally in places in the Middle East such as Lebanon.

It is a tree that allows a lot of shade, so it is great for sunny and hot areas. If its care and conditions are correct, it can grow up to 10 meters tall. As it has a good density of branches and leaves, it provides good shade and freshness. These characteristics make the sycamore is cultivated in these areas as an ornamental tree to create shady areas.

Both parks, large avenues, gardens and green areas, the African fig tree is used for all these places. By growing strong and robust, it is capable of eating walls and walls just as common fig trees do. Its roots are quite large and with good hardness. The crown shape is rounded and has a proportionate trunk. As it is not too high a trunk, figs can often be picked from the ground without any problem.

The leaves are of the petiolate type and with a rounded shape ending in a point. They are similar to the leaves that the Mulberry. It gives off a typical smell of fig trees that makes you not make a mistake with what type of tree you have in front of you.

Sycamore fruits

sycamore figs

Sycamore fig

As for its fruits, they are edible and, although they are called figs, they are not exactly figs. They are quite similar to them, but differ in that arise along the trunk, attached to it, while common figs are born at the end of the branches. It is something more common than we are used to.

They are fruits that are shaped like small green balls and that grow very close to the trunk, stuck together. As they mature, they acquire a creamy pink color. When they fall to the ground, being fully ripe, they have a brownish color. It is then when they begin to go away until they rot on the ground.

The size of these fruits is almost the same as the fig we all know. The only noticeable difference is that it has a much more rounded shape than the common one.

One of the rather curious aspects of the sycamore is that part of its roots can be seen from the outside. On some occasions we find specimens whose roots offer a good combination with the ecosystem where it is found and it seems something completely artistic.


Sycamore fruits

sycamore fruits

We are now going to analyze the cultivation of sycamore. We start by analyzing the climate it needs to be able to develop in good conditions and not slow down its growth. These trees can thrive in climates where summer can have quite high temperatures. They have a high capacity to grow in dry environments where rainfall is not too high.. They are able to tolerate a fairly wide range of temperatures. That is, during the day, they can stay in full sun and with high temperatures, while at night it is more difficult for them to stay in the cold.

They are somewhat more sensitive to low temperatures, especially when the specimens are still young and developing. As for the soil, it is capable of adapting to a large number of types of soils according to their nutrients, structure and characteristics. Can be adapted to nutrient poor and rich soils. If we must bear in mind that, if we want an optimal development of the fruits and we sow it in poor soils, we must provide some fertilizer and be more attentive to their care.

In the best specimens whose fruits are more delicious and numerous, it has been proven that the soil has good nutrients and on top it has good texture, moisture and drainage conditions. This last factor is quite important since we cannot let the irrigation water flood it. Part of the roots are outside so, if we get to flood the soil, the roots that are underground will end up drowning. The texture of the soil is advisable to be sandy. Apart from drainage, good aeration is also necessary. If the soil has a sandy texture, that aeration is more than guaranteed.

Irrigation and compost

sycamore detail

detail of the sycamore tree

Regarding irrigation, we know that in summer the temperatures are higher and the rainfall is lower. This means that irrigation has to be more frequent to house some moisture in the soil. In summer it is important that the tree can have moisture so that it continues to develop well. The fruits need a good supply of water to get the juiciness they need. On the other hand, in winter we must do the opposite and more if we live in an area where rainfall is abundant. It is advisable not to water it in winter since rainwater will be enough. Otherwise, we will be causing a storage of water and a little perspiration that will trigger the death of the specimen.

Since it is capable of growing in areas that do not have many nutrients, it is not at all demanding with the type of soil where it grows. In the spring and summer season you can make several fertilizers with about 8 or 10 kilos of compost or manure to help it to develop optimally.

I hope this information helps you to know more about sycamore.

Characteristics and cultivation of the sycamore (Ficus sycomorus)

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