Also known as
St John's Bread, Johannesbroodboom (Afr.), Carob bean
Photo by BonsaiKiryu3. (All rights reserved)
This plant has a strong fragrance
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Carob Tree Overview
Carobs are a long-lived evergreen tree that has dense foliage, the leaves are shiny, green, round and leathery, new growth is bronze coloured. Female trees produce long edible seed pods. The fruit is a dark brown flattened pod, containing a sweet, chocolate tasting pulp and several bean-like seeds.These trees are cultivated for its sugar-rich pods and gum-containing seeds. It is popular food for animals and the bible story of St. John living for 40 days in the desert just eating sweet locusts remind of the sweet pods and gave rise to the Afrikaans or other common names. The pods are used to make molasses or a flour that is often used as a chocolate substitute.
Common problems with Carob Tree
Pests include the larvae of the leopard moth (Zeuzera pyrina L.), small rodents such as rats & gophers can cause occasional damage. Some cultivars are severely susceptible to mildew disease & scale infestation. The larva of the carob moth (Myelois ceratoniae Z.) can cause extensive postharvest damage.
How to harvest Carob Tree
Collect pods can be picked once they turn a glossy brown colour. Knock the fruit down with a long stick and gathering them together with the help of laid-out nets. This is a delicate task because the trees are flowering at the same time and care has to be taken not to damage the flowers and the next year's crop.
How to propagate Carob Tree
The sowing of seed occurs in pot nurseries in early spring, the cooling- and drying- of the sensitive seedlings, which are then transplanted to the field in the next year after the last frost.
Air-layering is applied, adventitious roots are encouraged to grow from the stem of this tree.
Special features of Carob Tree
It can tolerate drought, thriving even under arid conditions, the roots penetrating deep into the soil to find moisture. Suitable for xeriscaping.
Rather grow it in a greenhouse or a container indoors if your garden and climate does not mimic that of the Mediterranean.
Attracts useful insects
Male and hermaphroditic flowers emit a sweet odour that attracts insects, such as bees, butterflies, wasps & flies.
Carob trees are used as windbreaks around orchards. Because of their dense foliage, they are also helpful buffers against noise from factories, roads and railways.
Other uses of Carob Tree
Pods are used to make molasses or a flour that is often used as a chocolate substitute.
People have long used the pod husks for medicinal purposes such as that of a throat balm or chewing lozenge to relieve hoarseness. A decoction is used in the treatment of diarrhoea.
The ripe, dried pod is often ground to carob powder, which is used to replace cocoa powder. Carob bars, an alternative to chocolate bars, are often available in health-food stores. Animal feed.