Flowering evergreen tree or shrub in the pea family, growing up to 15 m tall with a road crown supported by a thick trunk with rough brown bark and sturdy branches. Carob trees are native to the Mediterranean region and enjoys a hot dry climate. They can tolerate 500mm of annual rainfall but irrigation may be required to promote fruiting. They enjoy a sandy or gravelly, even rocky free draining soil and will not tolerate water-logging. Carobs will tolerate frosts down to -5 degrees but protection from the morning sun is beneficial in spring to avoid damaging the new shoots. Carobs are said to be leguminous, fixing nitrogen and making it available to nearby plants, although some sources disagree.
The trees may be hermaphroditic and hence self fertile, or dioeceous with only male or female flowers on each tree, so more than one tree is recommended for pollination, which may be by wind or insect. Our trees are seed grown and therefore we cannot tell if they will be self-fertile, male or female.
Carobs are widely cultivated for their edible pods, and as an ornamental tree in gardens. They are slow to bear, with pods first produced after 3-8 years. These take a year to ripen. Due to the slow growth of the trees they can be interplanted with other crops in the early years. Ripe, dried (and sometimes toasted) pods are often ground into carob powder, which is used to replace cocoa powder. The seedpods are filled with a saccharine pulp and can be eaten both green or dried, and are sweet and nutritious, though fibrous. Carob pod meal is also used as an energy-rich feed for livestock (and is not toxic to dogs like cocoa). The seeds can also be made into syrup, which is used to treat coughs and sore throats, as well as a natural sweetener. It is a natural source of calcium containing three times more calcium than cow’s milk. The syrup is also rich in iron, phosphorus, and natural fibre. An edible gum can also be extracted from the seed and used as a stabilizer, thickening agent and egg substitute. The roasted seed can be used as a coffee substitute. Carob wood makes very good firewood.
Our plants are sold young in 11cm pots – they are best planted young before their extensive taproots develop.
11cm pot Certified Organic Plant.