This native of the Mediterranean and Middle East is an exotic tree in South Africa, and is well known for its ability to tolerate dry conditions.
Evergreen, Ceratonia siliqua can grow to a height of 8 m with a spread of approximately 5 m, making it a good specimen for a large garden. The tree has a broad, semi-spherical crown and the trunk is thick with sturdy branches. The foliage consists of oval shaped leaves that are dark green in colour with a leathery texture. Flowering takes place during autumn and the small, petal-less flowers are pollinated by wind and insects.
Fruit, in the form of thick, flat pods, take a year to develop and ripen. These pods contain edible flesh and are consumed by various mammals when falling to the ground. In addition, the dried pods can be ground to form a powder that is used as a substitute for chocolate in baked goods.
The Carob tree grows well in warm temperate and subtropical areas and tolerates hot, dry conditions. It is a slow grower, but will cast dense shade when mature and is therefore a good choice as a ‘street’ tree.