Carob tree, Ceratonia siliqua L

tree of the family Fabaceae - subfamily Caesalpinia
(Judas tree, Carob tree, Cassia, Kentucky Coffee Tree, Locust tree, Tamarind)

Etymology: "Ceratonia" comes from keratia, "tree with horns".
Origin: Mediterranean coast, Middle East.
Habitat : the Carob tree is thermophilic. It is found on arid slopes.
Height: shrub of 6 m in tempered climate, tree reaching 15 m in its original area (for example in Algarve, Sicily, Morocco).
Lifespan: 500 years.
Trunk: big and crooked. Dense foliage.
Brown, harsh bark.
Shape: broad crown.
Persistent, big leaves from 12 to 30 cm, paripinnate, with 2-6 tough, broad, oval leaflets, dark green.
Small flowers, constituted by a crimson calyx and devoid of corolla, grouped in cylindrical clusters, from August till October.
Fruit: the "carob" pod, long from 10 to 30 cm, brown at maturity, in July of next year. It contains a mealy pulp and sweet, pale yellow, edible, flavored with chocolate. It is an excellent energy food for livestock. It contains many small seeds biconvex and very hard. These seeds, uniform weight and size, have formed the basis for a measure well known: the "karat".
Use: the Carob tree is cultivated in Southern Italy (Sicily notably) for its fruit.


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