Hunting for heritage fig trees introduced to Australia by migrants – Michmutters

Hunting for heritage fig trees introduced to Australia by migrants

At this time of year, fig trees have no leaves and are nothing more than a rise of branches sprouting from the ground. But it’s the ideal time for propagation and that gets Victorian, Yasmin Sadler excited.

It’s not just any fig tree that the Orbost resident is looking for — she’s trying to find the heritage fig trees that were introduced to Australia by migrants.

“They brought their best with them and they are still in our landscape, so my passion is to preserve them, to hear their stories and see them being grown again,” Ms Sadler said.

The self-confessed “fig hunter” started looking for heritage fig trees in Melbourne where she found 100 and was able to produce about 300 plants from cuttings.

Dozens of ripe, purple figs in dip tins picked fresh from the tree, ready to be eaten
After a cutting is taken it can be up to three years before the fig species is identified.(Rural ABC: Jessica Schremmer)

“Out of all the trees I visited, they were all different,” she said.

“We thought there’d be black Genoas or other common figs, but we haven’t found any of those at all.”

The 300 figs that Ms Sadler has propagated have been shared with others.

“My fig tribe has moved on up into the hills of Gippsland to become firebreaks. Also in Orbost, there’s a gentleman who started a fig farm based on my plants,” she said.

Hands holding secateurs and three cuttings from a fig tree
When Yasmin Sadler finds a heritage fig tree she takes cuttings to propagate.(Rural ABC: Kellie Hollingworth)

fig fossicking interstate

Ms Sadler is embarking on an interstate expedition to find even more heritage fig trees.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *