The fig tree known as “Blanca d’en Mestre” is the best known and largest of the fig trees on Formentera. The crown is 20 metres in diameter, the main trunk 2 metres, and it is estimated that the tree has been around for more than 100 years, characteristics that have earned it its own name and also made it worthy of being catalogued as a singular tree.
The name of the fig tree comes from the family that owned the land, the “Mestre”. The current owner is Juan Escandell (known as Juan Mestre).
The fig trees of Formentera are different from those of the rest of the Balearic Islands due to their curious way of structuring them: their branches are held up with stalks (supporting pillars), thus obtaining a tree that expands in width without touching the ground. The ‘Blanca de Mestre’ fig tree has more than 140 stalks. The structure of the fig tree is approximately 1.3 metres above the ground.
Nowadays, few people are familiar with this technique of holding and orienting the branches of the fig trees, which could endanger one of the main attractions of the Formentera landscape.
Advantages of staking fig trees
The advantages of stalling (holding) the branches of the fig trees are several:
- It allows the figs to be harvested at a low height and in a more comfortable way.
- It provides shade for farm animals during the hottest days of the summer.
Where is this very special tree to be found?
This majestic fig tree can be found next to the old path from Sant Francesc to La Mola, at kilometre 8.9 on the actual main road from Sant Ferran to La Mola.
If you want to read a complete analysis of the structure of the fig tree, with extra photographs and planimetry analysis, take a look at the website of the architect Marià Castelló here.