The fig tree snoozes its way through winter, much the same way as other deciduous trees. Its large leaves drop after the first frost, leaving the twisted branches bare until late-spring leafing.
The fig, botanically identified as ficus carica L., is a small tree with numerous spreading branches and equally wide-ranging roots. The leaves appear in late spring, just before summer in most climates, and are bright green and divided into deep lobes.
Long before the fig tree journeyed to North America, it flourished throughout the Mediterranean area. True to its origins, the fig produces the best fruit in a dry climate with early spring rains. The rains stimulate leaf production in late spring, although the exact timing varies according to climate and variety.
Once the fig leaves begin to open in late spring, they grow quickly. By mid-summer, fig leaves measure up to 1 foot across. The leaf cover of a fig tree is so dense that nothing grows beneath.