This well known fruit has one of the longest histories of cultivation of any plant. This deciduous tree or large shrub can be pruned to about 2 m high or left to grow to its maturity at up to 10 m. It loves a hot, dry, sunny climate, can grow in most soil types, including heavy clay and nutritionally poor soils, and can tolerate drought once established, although watering yields a better crop. They are only marginally frost hardy but we find they survive here in a slightly sheltered spot with frosts down to minus 6 degrees. Fig trees can also be grown in pots or espaliered. As you'll know if you've eaten them, the fresh fruit are exquisite and nothing like the dried version, although it is useful to be able to dry and store the fruit to prolong the season. They can also be used in jams and other preserves as well as cooked in both savoury and sweet dishes. The fruit is medicinal, mainly used as a gentle laxative. They are extremely high in fibre, and contain iron, potassium and calcium as well as antioxidants. The leaves also have medicinal uses, including as a steam bath for haemorroids, and the latex from the stems, although it can be a skin irritant, is also said to be good for use on warts, corns and insect bites and stings. Our plants are of a good-ol' "lost name tag" variety, but i can assure you the fruit makes very good eating!