Carob tree

From - Plant Encyclopedia and Gardening wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Carob Tree
Fossil range: {{{fossil_range}}}
carob pods
carob pods
Plant Info
Common name(s): {{{common_names}}}
Growth habit: {{{growth_habit}}}
Height: {{{high}}}
Width: {{{wide}}}
Lifespan: {{{lifespan}}}
Exposure: {{{exposure}}}
Water: {{{water}}}
Features: {{{features}}}
Poisonous: {{{poisonous}}}
Hardiness: {{{hardiness}}}
USDA Zones: {{{usda_zones}}}
Sunset Zones: {{{sunset_zones}}}
Scientific classification
Domain: {{{domain}}}
Superkingdom: {{{superregnum}}}
Kingdom: Plantae
Subkingdom: {{{subregnum}}}
Superdivision: {{{superdivisio}}}
Superphylum: {{{superphylum}}}
Division: Magnoliophyta
Phylum: {{{phylum}}}
Subdivision: {{{subdivisio}}}
Subphylum: {{{subphylum}}}
Infraphylum: {{{infraphylum}}}
Microphylum: {{{microphylum}}}
Nanophylum: {{{nanophylum}}}
Superclass: {{{superclassis}}}
Class: Magnoliopsida
Sublass: {{{subclassis}}}
Infraclass: {{{infraclassis}}}
Superorder: {{{superordo}}}
Order: Fabales
Suborder: {{{subordo}}}
Infraorder: {{{infraordo}}}
Superfamily: {{{superfamilia}}}
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Caesalpinioideae
Supertribe: {{{supertribus}}}
Tribe: {{{tribus}}}
Subtribe: {{{subtribus}}}
Genus: Ceratonia
Subgenus: {{{subgenus}}}
Section: {{{sectio}}}
Series: {{{series}}}
Species: C. siliqua
Subspecies: {{{subspecies}}}
Binomial name
Ceratonia siliqua
Trinomial name
Type Species

The Carob tree (from Arabic: خروب "kharoub" and Hebrew: חרוב Charuv), Ceratonia siliqua, is an evergreen shrub or tree native to the Mediterranean region, cultivated for its edible seed pods.



This tree grows up to 10 meters tall. The crown is broad and semi-spherical, supported by a thick trunk, brown rough bark and sturdy branches. Leaves are 10–20 cm long, alternate, pinnate, and may or may not have a terminal leaflet. The flowers are a green-tinted red, small, numerous, and about 6–12 mm long. They are spirally arranged along the inflorescence axis in catkin-like racemes borne on spurs from old wood and even on the trunk (cauliflory). The fruit is a pod which can be elongated, compressed, straight or curved, and thickened at the sutures. Carob is a member of the legume family, and as such its roots host bacteria which convert atmospheric nitrogen into nitrates which can be used by plants to make proteins.


These trees cannot withstand waterlogging, although the root system is usually deep. It grows well in warm temperate and subtropical areas and tolerates hot and humid coastal areas. It is a xerophytic (drought-resistant) species, well adapted to the ecological conditions of the Mediterranean region. It is also one of the few trees present in the altiplanic desert of South America, where it is known as algarrobo. Typical in the southern Portuguese region of the Algarve, there it has the name alfarrobeira (for the tree), and alfarroba (for the fruit).

Carob tree
Inside of tree. Note that old pods can stay on tree for years


Carob was eaten in Ancient Egypt. It was also a common sweetener and was used in the hieroglyph for "sweet" (nedjem).

Also known as St John's Bread, Carob is not a staple food in any area, but provides good sustenance during times when other crops are scarce and is a traditional feed for livestock in many areas.

In Egypt, it is used as a snack or treat. It is said to have laxative qualities. Moreover, the crushed pods are used to make a refreshing drink with a distinctive taste.

Carob is often eaten fresh, put in cakes, icing, and sometimes cookies. The seeds themselves, also known as locust beans, are used as animal feed. They are also the source of locust bean gum, a thickening agent.

Dried carob fruit is traditionally eaten on the Jewish holiday of Tu Bishvat.

Carob pods were the most important source of sugar before sugarcane and sugar beets became widely available. Nowadays, the seeds are processed for the use in cosmetics, curing tobacco, and making paper.

Carob is often promoted as a health food alternative to chocolate; the flesh of the carob pods is occasionally claimed to taste similar to sweetened cocoa, but to contain no theobromine or other psychoactive substances and is used as a hypoallergenic, drug-free substitute. Due to this, it is often ridiculed[1] and scorned by those who dislike its taste in desserts. However, it is considered non-toxic to dogs, and is used in dog treats such as Carob Chip Cookies. Mixed with saturated fats like butter fat or palm oil, it is used to make a sweet confection, considered chocolate-like by some, that is usually referred to simply as "carob." Carob is claimed to soothe the digestive tract and help with diarrhea.[citation needed]

Other information

The scientific name of the carob tree derives from the Greek keration "carob" (from keras "horn"), and Latin siliqua "pod, carob." The term "carat", the unit by which diamond weight is measured, is derived from the Greek keration, alluding to an ancient practice of weighing gold and gemstones against the seeds of the carob tree. The system was eventually standardized and one carat was fixed at 0.2 grams.

In late Roman and early Byzantine times the pure gold coin known as the solidus weighed 24 carat seeds (about 4.5 grams). As a result, the carat also became a measure of purity for gold. Thus 24 carat gold means 100% pure, 12 carat gold means the alloy contains 50% gold, etc.

See also

Template:Wikispecies Template:Commons

References and external links

blog comments powered by Disqus
Personal tools
Bookmark and Share