Welcome to Notes on Notes, our regular series explaining what a note is. For our full perspective on notes, read this post. For earlier posts in the series, click here. For an enlightening read on fig, keep reading.

The note: Fig

The Latin name: Ficus carica

The definition: “An enclosed flower that blooms modestly inward, unlike the flamboyant showoffs on other plants.” — from Ben Crair’s charming ode to the fig on newyorker.com.

The fragrance(s): Hanami

The scent profile (per Fragrantica): Complex mix of bitter green and milky sweet facets with ripe fruity notes, often used in woody compositions or in tandem with a hint of coconut and greenery to give a Mediterranean feel to a perfume.

The translation (per us): Earthy, sweet, woodsy

The fun facts:

-Figs were among the first plants cultivated by humans.

-Plato considered figs to be brain food.

-Most figs in America come from California; they were introduced there in the 18th Century by Spanish explorers.

-In some cultures, to “show the fig” is to make an obscene gesture by putting the thumb between the index and middle fingers. (We’ll let you sort out why it’s considered obscene.)

-The fig’s timeless leaf has adorned everyone from Adam and Eve to censored photos of Michelangelo’s David.

-Bodhi is a type of fig; thus, the tree under which Buddha found enlightenment was a fig tree. (How very Hanami.)