≡ Menu

Plant Profile: Carob Tree (Ceratonia siliqua)

ceratonia-siliqua pods n lvsCarob tree, also called St. John’s-bread and locust bean, is a member of the pea family (Fabaceae) and native to Southern Europe, Northern Africa, the Levant, Middle East and Macaronesia . It is cultivated as an ornamental as well as for its pods that can be ground and used in place of cocoa powder. The tree is low-branching, dense, and compact. It has contorted branches, rough dark-brown branches and a rounded crown. The pinnately compound leaves are six to nine inches long and have six to ten oval leaflets one to three inches long. They are leathery, glossy, and dark green above with paler undersides. Red buds open to small yellowish male and female flowers carried in lateral racemes on separate trees in spring. Female flowers produce brown, glossy, flat, narrow, leathery pods four to twelve inches long. Both male and female flowers must be present for pod production. The pods are protein-rich , contain up to 40 percent sugar and are produced in abundance every second year from August to October. Carob tree tolerates heat and dry atmosphere as well as urban pollutant and is an excellent choice for a shade or street tree.

Type: Evergreen tree

Outstanding Feature: Shade, pods

Form: Low branching with round crown

Growth Rate: Slow

Bloom: Small yellowish male and female flowers in lateral racemes on separate trees in spring.

Size: 20-45’ H x 20-55’ W

Light: Sun

Soil: Average, light, moderately moist, well-drained but tolerates less including alkali soil.

Hardiness: Zones 9-11

Care: Thin heads annually in winter; tolerates severe pruning.

Pests and Diseases: Relatively disease and pest resistant

Propagation: Seed, grafting (both very difficult)

Comments: Although growth is slow trees are very long lived.