, Volume 45, Issue 7, pp 612-622

Structure and function of the fig

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An overview is given of the functional anatomy of the fig. The fig is the site of pollination and oviposition, it produces wasps, seeds and pollen, and it is the unit of dispersal. Therefore the fig acts as both a flower and a fruit. When a flower is both fertilized and receives a wasp egg, it eventually produces a wasp. Fertilization in flowers that do not recieve a wasp egg initiates seed production. Wide variation exists in the structural features of figs among different subgenera and sections. Monoecious species and gynodioecious species have different strategies for maintaining the symbiosis with the pollinating fig wasps. Monoecious species produce wasps and seeds in a single fig type and show imperfect heterostyly. Gynodioecious species have specialized figs for wasp and for seed production and are characterized by perfect heterostyly.