What is the life span of a fig tree?

by | Aug 4, 2010 06:31 PM ET

You Asked:

What is the life span of a fig tree? --- Karen, Zalma, Mo.

Marshall Brain Answers:

I am compelled to ask the obvious question: "What do you mean, an African or European fig tree?" But this will only make sense if you are familiar with this classic scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail:

The species matters because figs have some pretty interesting varieties. The following video shows that strangler figs in the rain forest can live 500 years or more:

We must also point out that fig tree longevity has certain variables that are difficult to account for, such as this classic scene from the Bible (as found in Mark 11:12-14):

The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. Then he said to the tree, "May no one ever eat fruit from you again."

The tree was dead shortly thereafter.

But if what you are talking about is the "common fig" that produces the kind of fruit you find in a Fig Newton cookie, several decades is the productive lifespan in a fig orchard if you ignore things like lightning strikes, disease outbreaks and smiting. That is true of most fruit trees, as seen on this page and this page. Although the trees can last much longer - Here is one that is 100 years old:

See also:

- Are figs really full of baby wasps?

- Man vs Wild: Australian Fig Tree

More To Explore