Figs

Figs - Body

Look Closely

Two green figs on a tree with big green leaves.

Tiger Fig ʻPanachéeʼ (Ficus carica ʻPanachéeʼ). The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Garden.

Illustration of five green figs on a branch with four green leaves, a drawing of a fig cut open, and text about the plant beneath the drawing.

Elizabeth Blackwell, A curious herbal, 1739. The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens.

A teal and lime green vertical bar on the left that says “Time to sort!” with a light green and light purple venn diagram in the middle where one circle says “A curious herbal,” one says “Tiger Fig 'Panachee'” and the middle says “Both.”

Review the terms that describe both images. Which facts go in the same area of the diagram? Which facts go in each different area of the diagram?

  • Figs
  • Leaves
  • Elizabeth Blackwell
  • Fruit cut open
  • Mulberry family
  • Grows at The Huntington
  • Green and yellow skin
  • Photograph
  • Two figs
  • Red inside
  • Illustration
  • 1739
  • Printed book
  • Teardrop shape
  • Six figs
  • Blooms in September
  • California Garden
  • Fruit
  • Same name as an animal
  • The Huntington's collection

A teal and lime green vertical bar on the left that says “Answers” with a light green and light purple venn diagram in the middle where one circle says “A curious herbal,” one says “Tiger Fig ʻPanachée,” and the middle says “Both” and the answers listed in each.

Answers

A curious herbal

  • Elizabeth Blackwell
  • Fruit cut open
  • Red inside
  • Printed book
  • Illustration
  • 1739
  • Six figs

Both

  • Figs
  • Leaves
  • Mulberry family
  • The Huntington's collection
  • Green and yellow skin
  • Teardrop shape
  • Fruit

Tiger Fig ʻPanachée

  • Photograph
  • California Garden
  • Grows at The Huntington
  • Blooms in September
  • Same name as an animal
  • Two figs

Learn about the figs

Illustration of five green figs on a branch with four green leaves, a drawing of a fig cut open, and text about the plant beneath the drawing.

  • Elizabeth Blackwell created 500 illustrations of different plants in her book A curious herbal. An herbal is a book that provides information about how plants can be used for natural medicine remedies and cooking. One of the illustrations in her book is a depiction of figs.
  • In this engraving, Blackwell shows part of the fig tree with budding figs and big green leaves. On the top right she shows an image of a fig cut in half, allowing readers to see the inside of the fruit.
  • This is an engraving. An engraving is a type of printmaking in which the image (in this case, figs) is carved into a metal plate.
  • In this herbal, Blackwell published the engravings in installments, so only a few were released at a time until all 500 were published.
  • Explore other illustrations in Blackwellʼs A curious herbal. Do you recognize any of the plants? Maybe pomegranates? Saffron? Basil? Do these illustrations look similar to the real-life plants? Do they look different? How?
  • Zoom in to view this page in the book.
Two green figs on a tree with big green leaves.

  • The Tiger Fig ʻPanachéeʼ grows in The Huntingtonʼs California Garden.
  • Have you ever eaten a fig? If so, what did it taste like? If you havenʼt, imagine biting into a fig. How do you think it would taste? Sweet?Bitter? Sour?
  • Figs are part of the mulberry family. Other fruits in this family include jackfruit, breadfruit, and mulberries.
  • Figs are a type of fruit that grows in a teardrop shape with stripes in different shades of green. In addition to growing fruit, the fig tree also produces big, dark green leaves.
  • Why do you think this fig is called the “Tiger Fig”? Does something about the fig remind you of a tiger?
  • Figs are native to, or originally from, the Middle East and Asia. They grow well in environments that do not receive a lot of rain, such as Southern California.

Questions

  • What did you notice about object 1, A curious herbal?
  • What did you notice about object 2, Tiger Fig ʻPanachéeʼ?
  • How are they the same?
  • How are they different?
  • What did you learn?
  • Which image of figs did you like best? Why?

Activity

Class Herbal

Materials:

  • Paper
  • Something to draw with (crayons, colored pencils, markers, etc.)
  • A real sample or photograph of a plant, fruit (like a fig), flower, or herb

Time: 10 minutes

Steps:

  1. Look closely at your plant, fruit, flower, or herb. Notice the colors, textures, lines, and details.
  2. Then draw your plant, showing the details that you observed.
  3. Write the name of the plant next to your drawing.
  4. Help assemble everyoneʼs drawings together to create a class herbal!


We would love to see your work!

Please take a picture of your Venn diagram. Then post it on social media and tag The Huntington! #LearnAtTheH