Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

QUERY: Judas Iscariot hanged from a fig tree?

Posted on by royvickery |

We have received an enquiry regarding the story that Judas Iscariot hanged himself from a fig (Ficus carica) tree, but the only mention we can find of this is in Donald Watts, Elsevier’s Dictonary of Plant Lore, where on p. 215, under Judas, he states: ‘Fig trees are viewed with mistrust in the Mediterranean area; in Sicily it was because, so it was said, Judas hanged himself on one.’  Watts gives no source for this statement, but on p.150, under fig, he cites his source as ‘Porteous’, presumably Alexander Porteous, Forest Folklore, Mythology, and Romance, published by Allen & Urwin, 1928.

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