Bet You Didn’t Know This About Figs
This fact should not prevent you from eating fresh figs or the sweet jam made of this tasty fruit, but leave you in a state of wonder on how nature serves our food.
We all like figs and we have to admit that they are very tasty, however, there is one disgusting thing about them – there are dead wasps and flies in them.
Figs are mainly pollinated by wasps, but if a female fig wasp enters an edible fig, she eventually dies inside from exhaustion or starvation. The fig plant and the fig wasp both have the same goal: reproduction. For this to happen, a fig plant needs to share its genetic material (in the form of pollen) with another of its kind, and the fig wasp needs a place where its larva can grow and feed. Think of the fig wasp as a tenant, and the fig plant as a landlord who takes payment in the form of pollen. To get there, she climbs down through a narrow passage which is so cramped that the tiny fig wasp loses her wings and antenna during her claustrophobic trek. Once inside, there’s no getting back out and flying to another plant. She’ll find male flower parts that are perfectly shaped to hold the eggs she’ll eventually lay. The eggs will grow into larvae, which will develop into male and female wasps. After hatching, the blind, wingless male wasps will spend the remainder of their lives digging tunnels through the fig. The female wasps then emerge through these tunnels and fly off to find a new fig — carrying precious pollen with them.
However, a dead insect cannot be found, because the fig tree secretes a strong enzyme that fully decomposes it and converts it into protein. The fig basically digests the dead insect, making it a part of the resulting ripened fruit. The crunchy bits in figs are seeds, not anatomical parts of a wasp.
Are figs still as delicious now knowing how they grow? Perhaps these proteins, derived from the insects, are the secret ingredients that makes them irresistible. Figs anyone?
Watch the video that was recorded by a micro-camera within the figs.