American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A wild variety of Mediterranean fig (Ficus carica var. sylvestris) used in the caprification of certain edible figs.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The uncultivated male form of common fig, Ficus Carica, which is practically diœcious, though staminate and pistillate flowers are found upon the same tree. The fruit of the caprifig is hard and useless, but is the home of a small gnat-like gall-insect, Blastophaga grossorum, which in escaping from the orifice covers itself with pollen and thus becomes a means for effecting the fertilization of the edible fig. See
- n. A fig tree which produces both male and female flowers and is used to fertilize the female trees of the species.
- n. The accessory fruit of this tree, which is considered inedible by humans.
- n. wild variety of the common fig used to facilitate pollination of certain figs
- Middle English, from Latin caprifīcus (influenced by Middle English fig, fig) : caper, capr-, goat + fīcus, fig; see fig1. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“For there is a slight distinction of this sort, since even in plants we find in the same kind some trees which bear fruit and others which, while bearing none themselves, yet contribute to the ripening of the fruits of those which do, as in the case of the fig-tree and caprifig.”
“Some erroneously assert that all fish are female except in the cartilaginous fishes, for they think that the females of fish differ from what are supposed to be males only in the same way as in those plants where the one bears fruit but the other is fruitless, as olive and oleaster, fig and caprifig.”
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