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πŸ“Έ by @gagan.saiprasad

If you’ve ever eaten a fig, you might be surprised to learn that they are not a fruit, they’re actually inverted flowers.

What even more surprising is how some wild figs are pollinated – fig wasps.

Here’s the catch – in order for a female (edible) fig to mature – and this only applies to certain wild figs – a fig wasp has to die inside and be consumed whole by each one.

The fig plant tricks the wasps into sacrificing themselves by offering them a place to lay their eggs – but only the male flowers (caprifigs) are a suitable nursery.

The passage to the chamber (syconium) is very cramped, so upon entering either type of fig, the female fig wasp loses her wings and her antennae – in other words, she’s stuck inside.

If she chose a caprifig, she will lay her eggs and eventually die – her eggs will hatch, her babies will mate and burrow out of the male fig covered in pollen in search of a fig to lay their eggs – the wasps life-cycle continues.

If a female fig wasp chooses an edible fig, she will be unable to lay her eggs as the female figs contain structures inside the syconium preventing this, but she will have succeeded in fertilizing the flower and allowing it to mature into an edible fruit.

Some wild figs ripen without pollination, and pretty much all of the figs meant for modern human consumption are tricked into bearing fruit by spraying them with hormones.

But who knows, somewhere down the line you might have eaten a wasp fertilized fig without even knowing it.



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