Botanical background

order: Rosales

family: mulberry family (Moraceae)

genus: fig trees (Ficus)

species: common fig (Ficus carica)

attributes: shrub or bush, three to six meters in height, digitate, rough leaves, dependent on cross-pollination

origin: eastern Mediterranean up to central Asia and Afghanistan, probably from Southwest Asia 

habitat: Middle East, wild hybrids in the Mediterranean region, also in mild regions of the USA, South America and northern Africa


In the Bible

And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasing to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make wise, she took of its fruit, and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. 7And the eyes of both of them were opened. And they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made girdles for themselves.

Genesis 3,6-7

The fig leaf has it‘s most prominent appearance at the very beginning of the Bible. After original sin in the second creation account (1 Moses 2,4-3,24) Adam and Eve are ashamed of being naked. The fig leaves are chosen as clothes owing to size and form.

Figs are an important food product (Neh 13,15) and remedy (Jes 38,21) in the Old Testament. In the New Testament on the other hand a growing fig tree represents the imminennt arrival of the Kingdom of God (Mk 13,28). A fruitless fig tree symbolizes the last chance for repentance (Lk 13,6-9).


mentions: several

other text passages (selected):

Deuteronomy 8,8

1. Samuel 25,18

1. Book of Chronicles 12,41

Nehemia 13,15

Jesaja 38,21

Mark 11,13

Mark 13,28

Luke 13,7


Dobat, Klaus: Pflanzen der Bibel, Darmstadt 2012, 3.9-4

Eichberger, Walter/Wendland, Henning: Deutsche Bibeln vor Luther. Die Buchkunst der achtzehn deutschen Bibeln zwischen 1466 und 1522, Hamburg 1977, 91-93.

Hepper, F. Nigel: Pflanzenwelt der Bibel. Eine illustrierte Enzyklopädie von F. Nigel Hepper, Stutgart 1992, 110-111.

Riede, Peter: Feige / Feigenbaum (AT), in: Das wissenschaftliche Bibellexikon im Internet (Jan. 2018), URL: (abgerufen 01.05.2023).

Modern King James Version

Fig tree
© Botanischer Garten, Uni Münster
© Botanischer Garten, Uni Münster
© Bibelmuseum Münster
© Bibelmuseum Münster
© Bibelmuseum Münster
© Bibelmuseum Münster