The Bible tree: The good, bad and ugly of figs

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Planet Earth has thousands of different plant species growing on it, which provide fauna species, including humans with food, medicine, shelter and most importantly, clean oxygen.

With different habitats occurring around the world, the habitats are home to different types of plants.

Some of these plants are endangered while others become extinct. However, there are some plants which are so much in abundance that they are not considered to be of that importance and are usually less appreciated or acknowledged. One such plant is the fig tree, or Ficus species, falling under the family of Moraceae.

Figs are some of the plants mentioned in the Bible. They are so amazing. So good, yet so bad and so ugly. The fig is that type of plants.

Figs are good because they provide food, medicine and shelter, which benefit both animals and human beings. They also have an economic benefit whereby people can sell their fruits to generate income. Some processed food is made from the fig tree fruits.

The bad part of this amazing plant is that fig trees, like other plants, can create some unattractive view as they drop leaves and fruits on ground in our gardens.

Consequently, there is demand for constant sweeping or cleaning. Since fig tree fruits are favourites with feathered friends (birds) and other fauna species, the droppings or waste from these feeders can be an eyesore if the yard is left uncared for.

It can happen that once cars are parked under that particular fruiting tree, the screens and car body become unsightly due to bird droppings.

The ugly side of fig trees is that, the roots can be so aggressive to an extent of cracking up  building structures and paved areas if planted too close to buildings.

It is common to see fig trees growing on hill tops with roots penetrating cracks of big boulders, showing how aggressive and ugly figs can be.

However, the ugly and bad aspects should not be allowed to overshadow the good qualities of these amazing plants.

As stated in the introduction of this article, fig trees are mentioned in the Bible, and have been used for different purposes in the past by many crucial people whose names are stated in the Bible.

The following verses clearly state and prove that indeed fig trees were used many years ago and are as follows;

Genesis 3:7: says, “they opened their eyes and realised that they were naked and used fig leaves to cover themselves,” referring to errant Adam and Eve.

Mark 11:12 says, “while leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry, and when seeing a Fig tree with only leaves and no fruits, he cursed the tree for failing to have fruits”.

Jeremia 24:2 says, “one basket had very good figs and the other had bad figs.”

Isaiah 38:21 says, “now Isaiah had said, let them take a cake of figs and apply it to the boil that he may recover.”

Nahum 3:12 says, “all your fortifications are fig trees with ripe fruit when shaken they fall into the eater’s mouth.”

Many verses in the Bible say so much about fig plants. These include Judges 9:11, Revelation 6:13, Habakkuk 3:17-19, Mathew 24:32 and many others.

The other interesting part about fig plants is that, they are plants that produce flowers inside their fruit (amazing).

While many plants are known to produce flowers for pollination and fertilisation, which results in fruit being formed, figs do that process in a special and unique way.

When fig fruits are cut open, especially wild figs, which are edible and naturally growing in the wild, it is common to see small insects inside the fruits, busy doing pollination of flowers inside the fruits.

In Botswana, there are several fig trees that are naturally growing around. Some of them are Ficus sycomorus (Mochaba), Ficus ingens (Mohatolantswe), Ficus cordata (Motlhatsa) Ficus abutilifolia (Mhawa) and many other occurring species.

Conservation of all plant species should be highly practised from all corners of the world so as to be enjoyed by coming generations.


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