Though an important food crop for people historically, in lands such as ancient Egypt, the sycamore fig has long since been replaced by “common” fig crops. The sycamore fig tree is not as cold tolerant as common fig trees. And unlike common fig trees, it is wholly dependent upon a tiny fig wasp to pollinate and ripen its figs.
No fig wasps pollinate common figs outside of subtropical zones like southern California and the Mediterranean basin. Fig wasps cannot survive cooler areas and are not needed for many types of common figs, which are parthenocarpic, able to ripen well without pollination.
For many creatures large and small in the tropics, however, sycamore figs remain of supreme importance. The “Queen of Trees” is a great video about the sycamore fig trees of Africa (and western Asia) and the world of creatures that depends on it: “The Queen of Trees.”