The Internet is full of strange things and somehow, I find that the weirdest facts often make their way onto my phone screen. One such random bit of information I read recently is that every fig has a dead wasp in it.
If you’d like to know if that’s a fact, read on. Otherwise, click start to play today’s fruit and tree themed Word Search – a much safer territory!
The short answer is… it’s true. But in case you’re eyeing your box of figs and wondering whether you’ll ever be able to eat them, here’s the long answer.
Figs are not technically fruits – they’re inverted flowers. The fig basically blooms inside its pod. But since all flowers need to be pollinated so that they can reproduce, the fig flower’s pollinator, the wasp, needs to crawl inside it to bring the pollen to the flower and lay its eggs.
If the wasp burrows into a male fig, she can successfully lay her eggs, which then hatch to release more wasps that eventually fly out and pester people in their gardens, among other things. But if the wasp burrows into a female fig, the environment is not ideal, so she cannot lay her eggs and eventually dies of starvation.
However, the wasp does bring pollen into the flower, so pollination occurs, the fig ripens and voila – it’s packaged up into boxes that we buy from the supermarket! So, it's true, there is at least one wasp in every fig we eat.
Don’t worry, though, the fig’s ficin enzyme breaks up the insect’s body into proteins that are absorbed by the plant – so you need not fear that crunch sound when you’re biting into the fig.
On that happy note, check out all the other fruits in today’s Word Search and tell us if you enjoyed playing at firstname.lastname@example.org.