Yoshizen's Blog



Before Marks and Spenser started to sell more civilized products like a Wonder Bra etc.

the Figs said to be widely utilized though, I haven’t seen any of them in use, other than on

a very decent ancient sculpture wearing it. —– Anyhow I’m not a very fashion conscious

person, I’m more interested in its edible part.


Fig is a very peculiar plant.   Apparently it doesn’t have a flower still makes a fruits.

So that, in Japan they are called “Ichijiku” but to write its name in the Chinese character it is

[無花果] which mean “The Flowerless Fruits” though, its reading makes no “Ichijiku” at all.

Because of this, long since I’ve been wondering where this name “Ichijiku” derived from ?  

Then, one day on a street market, I saw a fruits vendor selling the Figs.

And I knew a man working there was a Kurdish.   I asked him, how they call Figs in their

country ?   He taught me it is “Injee” —– With flash of light, I realized, this must be the

origin of the Japanese name “Ichijiku”.


Fig is one of the biblical ancient fruits together with Grape, and originated from middle east.

Hence all over the Orient, Turkey to Persia, Egypt,  Fig was commonly called Injee.

And it must came to China and to Japan through Central Asia = via Silk-road.   So, I refer to a

Chinese Dictionary to see what is the Chinese name of Fig —– it was [映日果], which reading

in Mandarin is In-lee-quo, but local pronunciation is more like In-jee-quo which was a direct

copy of the original sound to Chinese character, and an additional letter, [] quo, to indicate

a fruits.  (Like the name of  Japan / [日本], which reading in Mandarin is Lee-pen though, other

locals read it Jee-peng = So that, Marko Paolo wrote it down as Jipang hence Japan !)

From here it’s easy to see, a Chinese pronunciation “Injee-quo” has been changed to “Ichijiku”

= One long standing question was solved !


But, without having a flower, how Fig can reproduce themselves ? —– As a matter of fact,

they are not flowerless plant at all, far from it, the fruits we are eating is nothing but a

compacted pile of tiny flowers.  Hence, you can see numerous tiny seeds inside of Fig.

The seed was produced by the individual tiny flowers even more numerous than the seeds.

Those flowers were individually pollinated by also tiny Fig-wasp who came inside of a Fig

through small hole in the centre of fruits. —– Of cause, Fig-wasp was not come to a Fig to

pollinate but to mate and lay the eggs.   (There are many different wasps which got different

life cycle —– some stay inside waiting the male wasp to come and fertilize her, and she lay

eggs there, and larvae grow in the Fig and male dies there.   Some other wasps are came

and lay the eggs and their larvae are carnivorous and eat other wasp’s larvae. —– so on.)


—– therefore, when we eat Figs, whether fresh or such as a Fig Roll, we are inevitably

eating the Fig-wasps as well.   (In effect, it supply the Essential Amino-acid to the strict

vegetarian people = that is why they don’t die with rack of “Essential nutrition”.

Though, you don’t need to become nervous, since this situation is quite normal and common

= can you expect any mass-produced food such as Jam, Marmalade, Ketchup, what so ever =

which track-load of ingredients thrown-into a belt-conveyor, and is there anybody removing

the small insect and their tiny larvae comes with ? )  (Unlike Bottle-fly or Cockroach kind, who

is dealing with human derivative, the insects living with fruits are less likely carries the

germ related to the human diseases, hence they are much safer.)

There are many warning of food allergy, Nuts, Eggs, certain Protein etc etc. though I never

heard anybody got ill because of accidentally eat an insect —– may be without knowing,

we are eating them quite regularly, our body may not recognize them as foreign substance.

This is what “living with nature” mean, in its reality.  😀  

This link may give you the idea, what is the situation.




PS :  Incidentally, the Boddhi-tree [Ficus, religiosa]

 of which Shakya-Muni Buddha said to have reached 

his Enlightenment,  known locally as Peepal or

Pippal tree also belong to the same family / genus.        

(Photo Right from Wiki media)

So, the Boddhi-tree is a small fruits version of Fig tree

hence has no flower.  Despite the tree can reach up to

30 m, their fruits is not larger than a tip of finger.

( I do yet know how small the Fig-Wasp for this tree. —– Nearly 100 million years of

co-evolution, each species of Fig has their own gang of the Wasp species, otherwise

both of them would have had extinct long ago ! )



8 Responses

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  1. bentehaarstad said, on September 23, 2013 at 19:07

    There are not that many fig around, so I don’t eat it too often, and I am not (completely) av vegetarian. I still want to see the fig-flowers though.

    • yoshizen said, on September 23, 2013 at 20:12

      If you came across Fig tree and saw the fruits (doesn’t matter if it was green), Cut it open and see it with magnifier.
      = you can see packed-up pipe like structure —- each pipe is the individual flower !

  2. elenacaravela said, on September 23, 2013 at 21:18

    My grandfather was coddled his fig trees, wrapped them up nice and warm each winter and tended them with great interest the rest of the year. I however, had no idea about the fig wasps.

    • yoshizen said, on September 23, 2013 at 21:40

      Oh, you got good grandfather! And you must be grown-up having to wait each years harvest.
      Many years, many times I’ve tried to see the Fig-wasp while cut open it, still without success.
      Without Fig-wasp, without proper pollination, Fig wouldn’t get matured = to see ripen Fig, there
      must have been the wasp —– ? —– Strange!

  3. jag said, on September 23, 2013 at 21:49


  4. drawandshoot said, on September 24, 2013 at 14:49

    Wow, that’s really interesting. I had no idea. Many insects are apparently quite nutritious! : )
    I love figs and think they are very beautiful. I often think I should bring some home to photograph and paint.

    • yoshizen said, on September 24, 2013 at 15:22

      Thank you Karen.
      When I was a kids, I eat baked or fried larvae of wasps, hornet-wasps = a bit sweet and quite crispy.
      And when I was in the mountain of Taiwan, local food contained looks like shrimp though,
      in such place far from the sea, I’m sure it was in fact grass-hopper = still, it wasn’t too bad. 🙂

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