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The characteristics of the carob tree
- Type: fruit tree
- Height: from 5 to 10 m, from 10 to 20 m
- Flower colors: red
- Fruit name: carob
- Desired exposure: sunny, semi-shaded
- Type of soil: normal, well drained, stony
- Foliage: persistent
- sanitizer: no
- variety: Ceratonia siliqua
Origins and peculiarities of the carob tree
Belonging to the Fabaceae family, the carob tree (VSeratonia siliqua) is a tree well known for its fruit, the carob. Generally reaching 12 meters in height, it grows in the arid regions of the Mediterranean basin where it originates.
The carob tree is very cultivated in the warm countries around the Mediterranean, it grows in particular in Spain, in Morocco, in the south of Italy, in Cyprus or in Tunisia. Spain is the world's leading producer of carob. In the middle of the XIXth century, the carob tree was exported in mass from Spain to the American continent, in particular to the states of Texas, California, Arizona and Florida in which the carob tree is considered as a species. very invasive.
Visually, the carob tree is a tree with a broad and tortuous trunk, and a persistent foliage with oval leaves. The carob flowers are small red clusters that appear on the tree between August and October. The carob fruit, the carob, is in the form of a pod up to 30 centimeters in length. The edible part of the fruit is the seed, brown and oval, from which flour and gum are obtained, used in food but also in industrial fields.
The carob tree is a fruit tree, it is therefore cultivated for its fruit, the carob. Carob gum comes from the thin brown skin that surrounds the seeds of the fruit, and it is widely used in the food industry for its thickening powers. The carob tree is also cultivated for its flour, carob flour, which is used in particular to make infant milk.
Plantation of the carob tree
The carob plantation takes place in the fall. Warning: this tree tends to extend its roots widely when it develops; it is therefore necessary to choose its location well when it is planted, because it will be difficult to move it once planted! The carob culture requires patience: the seeds are only edible after about fifteen years.
In terms of location, the carob tree needs:
- Of a sunny or slightly shaded exposure;
- Well-drained soil, even if it is dry and poor.
- Heat: the tree is not very rustic and tolerates frost and negative temperatures rather badly. If it is well protected, the carob tree can be content with a mild climate.
Carob culture and maintenance
If the carob tree is cultivated for its seeds, it is nonetheless a beautiful tree, with pleasant growth and protecting from the sun as well as from soil erosion. As such, it is not demanding, and even sandy soil can suit it. However, care must be taken to ensure that it is not in the shade, and protected from strong and cold winds.
The carob tree does not require any particular maintenance: only take care to protect it from the cold if it is not cultivated in its native region, and not to forget to water it even when the summer season is over.
Carob tree diseases and pests
The carob tree is a resistant and solid tree: to date, it does not present any recognized disease or parasite.