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A picture of a Carob Tree

Carob Tree

Ceratonia siliqua

Also known as

St John's Bread, Johannesbroodboom (Afr.)

Photo by BonsaiKiryu3. (All rights reserved)

Full Sun
Easy care
Moderate watering
Half-hardy

10a

USDA zone

-1°C

Minimum temperature

Expected size

Height
Spread

9m

Max

12m

3m

Min

3m

Flowering

  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

This plant has a strong fragrance

More images

A photo of Carob Tree
Ceratonia siliqua Negev 041214
Hojas de algarrobo (14943643194) (2)
A photo of Carob Tree
Ceratonia siliqua green pods

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

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.

    Harvesting

    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.

    Propagation

    Seed

    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.

    Layering

    Air-layering is applied, adventitious roots are encouraged to grow from the stem of this tree.

    Special Features

    Drought resistant

    It can tolerate drought, thriving even under arid conditions, the roots penetrating deep into the soil to find moisture. Suitable for xeriscaping.

    Indoor plant

    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.

    Hedge plant

    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.

    Uses

    Pods are used to make molasses or a flour that is often used as a chocolate substitute.

    Medicinal

    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.

    Edible

    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.

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