Half-hardy, deciduous shrub
Description: Produces small, greenish-white fruits in late summer, described by A. J. Downing as sweet and rich; bears abundantly
Habit: Grows to 12 feet high and 10 feet wide
Culture: Prefers full sun and well-drained soil; requires winter protection
Hardiness: USDA Zones 6b through 10
In 1809 Thomas Jefferson wrote to Dr. William Thornton, a close friend and architect of the Capitol in Washington: "I will take some occasion of sending you some cuttings of the Marseilles fig, which I brought from France with me, & is unquestionably superior to any fig I have ever seen". This variety was planted in the submural beds at the base of the kitchen garden wall, which afforded a warm microclimate necessary to bear fruit. Jefferson had unusual success with figs and noted their appearance at the Monticello table in 1816 and 1820. He also shared Marseilles figs with John Hartwell Cocke, owner of Bremo Plantation along the James River. Cocke sent his slave Jesse to Monticello in 1817 to collect some plants.