Did you know

11 Oct 2022

Did You Know? Ficus sycomorus

Ficus sycomorus, or sycamore fig or the fig-mulberry is a fig species that has been cultivated since ancient times. In Egypt it was known as the Tree of Life. The tree grows up to 20 meters high, the leaves are heart shaped, dark green above and lighter with yellow veins below. The tree grows abundantly in Egypt and in the Lebanon and Syria but not so much in Cyprus, where there are but just a few. Most well known are the sycamore tree outside the Cathedral of St Nicolas in Famagusta, the sycamore tree in Ayia Napa, praised by the poet Seferis, one in the metropolis of Limassol and a few others scattered around.

The sycamore fruit are achenes, in the shape of a small ball which tangles at the end of a stalk along the bark of the tree. They grow in thick clustered and ripen from green to yellow or red, being picked usually in July. The Turkish Cypriots knew best how to clean them from their hard and prickly shell and sell them on ice in the hot summer days, on wheel barrows. Today many housewives make sycamore jam or preserved fruit. The fruit is also known as cümbez.

The ‘Did You Know’ series is made possible with the support of OPAP (Cyprus).

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