This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V24", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
Talking to some young folks recently about flowers and fruit, and remarking that no one could produce an instance of any fruit without flowers, a young lady said that surely there were no flowers on the fig, for her parents had a plant growing in a tub for years, always producing fruit, but it never had a flower on it. But there is flower even to the fig, hundreds of them inside a single fig, for it is inside of what is popularly called the fig that the flowers are found. As we told our young friend, if the fig is cut open in an early stage, and the interior face examined with a common pocket lens, it will be found completely walled with little flowers, having each the usual parts of fructification. This also may be further remembered when examining the interior of a ripe fig, for the mature seed will be found, such seed having been produced by a single flower.
One thing however is true, they have not the flowers of ordinary plants, that is to say flowers that we can readily see and admire, as we can the flowers we ordinarily cultivate for their beautiful blossoms. Still they have many of them beauty of form, especially in the foliage, and are very popular on this account. They deserve more than ordinary attention from the cultivator, because of their ease of culture, very few plants taking to neglect as kindly as they do. They are especially valuable for room culture, perhaps from this very fact that they can stand abuse. There are hundreds of species known to botanists, but somehow not a large number of them under culture. One of the best that we know of is a cornparatively recent introduction, and known as Ficus exculpta. A handsome plant, furnished with evergreen leaves of a peculiarly elegant form.
It has been introduced from the South Sea Islands. The leaves are shortly stalked, lanceolate in outline, and sinuately lobed, the lobes again sinuate so as to produce a prettily-cut margin, the curious crenations giving the leaf the appearance of having been stamped or punched out. In the upper half the lobes become so much enlarged that the margin is deeply pinnatified. This was one of the twelve new plants with which Mr. William Bull of Chelsea, near London, England, gained the first prize at the Provincial Show of the Royal Horticultural Society, held at Preston in 1878.